East Newton adds experience, aims to build on 2020 season

The Patriots return 17 starters this year compared to just two in 2020.

GRANBY, Mo. -The East Newton Patriots enter the fall season a more equipped group.

“Going into the season we don’t feel like we have a lot of holes and we’re searching a lot,” says head coach Kyle Wood. “We feel like going to be a little deeper than we’ve been.”

Inexperience is a thing of the past.

“Last year it basically felt like we were a JV team just stepping up,” says senior LG/DE Collin Farley. “We had two starters come back, so no one really knew what it was like to play on Friday nights besides a couple of people. That really showed on the scoreboard. I think the experience will help mainly with confidence and knowing we can play the game. I can beat that guy one on one and not being scared of the person across from you.”

The Patriots have settled in and in Kyle Wood’s third year, the expectations have grown.

“We know what it’s like being hit in the mouth and be in those battles in the Big 8 that you got to be in. Our players know what to expect. They’re not going to freak out. We’ve been under the lights, we’ve been in tough battles, we’ve won some games in the Big 8. It’s a slow build to getting to where we ultimately want to be.”

“It’s a tough conference,” says senior RB/OLB Nathan Evey. “We’re definitely the smallest school in the conference which is challenging but nothing we can’t accomplish if we work hard, know what we can do and have confidence.”

They are sticking to what they know best.

“East Newton has always been known for the tenacity that our kids play at,” says Wood. “We just want to always take pride in what East Newton’s known for: being physical, playing fast and giving it their all every play. I’ve been in the Big 8 now for 15 of the 16 years I’ve coached. We’ve always seen that from East Newton kids – just the strong will that they had no matter the score.”

The Patriots open their season at home against Reeds Spring on August 27th.