NEWTON, Miss. -- For the first time since 2002-2003, Newton put together consecutive winning seasons, with a record of 13-11 in Ryan Smith's two seasons with the program. In 2017, the Tigers survived a tough district slate and qualified for the 2A playoffs, but fell short in the first round by just one point against Winona.
"We had a good year" said senior linebacker Isaiah Evans. "We just didn't make it. I thought we should've gone further, but it was a good year."
Smith left the program this Spring to accept the head coaching position at his alma mater, Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. Newton then hired former Murrah head coach Zack Grady to take over the team in 2018.
"The transition has gone really well" Grady said. "The guys are working extremely hard, we've got a few veteran guys trying to move the young guys along, so we'll be fine."
Newton lost several key contributors from the 2017 team, such as twin receivers Zachary and Zackariah Johnson, Sivares Snow, and Javarious Moore, each playing college football next season.
"They were a big part of this team" said Newton senior quarterback Trevion Hillie. "There were a lot of leaders on this team last year."
Now in the midst of summer workouts, Grady has fully integrated himself into the Newton program, gearing up for a big 2018 season.
"We just need to go out and play with tremendous effort" Grady said. "We need to be real disciplined and stay focused one game at a time."
Newton opens the season at home on August 17th against St. Joseph Catholic.