In preparation for Heritage Hall's pass heavy offense, Newcastle moved junior Casey Freeman from cornerback to safety earlier this week.
The move paid off.
Freeman had two of the Racers' four interceptions to lead Newcastle to a 28-14 win over the Chargers on Thursday night at Pop Murray Field.
“We did exactly what we wanted to do,” said Freeman, who also plays quarterback. “We focused on coming out here and hitting them in the mouth and forcing turnovers. That's what we did.”
Three of the interceptions came in the second half, helping Newcastle overcome a 14-7 halftime deficit and score the game's final 21 points.
“The defense was outstanding,” said Newcastle coach Keith Bolles. “Heritage Hall comes out in some exotic formations, and that makes it challenging to be in the right spots sometimes. We bent a little bit, but overall our defense was terrific.”
Newcastle (4-2 overall, 2-0 in District 3A-3) received another impressive performance from junior running back Zach Bergt, who scored all four of the Racers' touchdowns.
Bergt rushed for 100 yards on 32 carries, with each of his four scores coming from inside the 3-yard line.
“I felt good about how I ran tonight,” said Bergt, who now has 500 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season. “The line blocked great, and (Freeman) put us in position to make plays. We've been keeping a positive attitude about what we're capable of and that's helped.”
After loses at Blanchard and Tuttle earlier this season, Thursday's win finally gives the Racers an impressive road win against a traditional power.
“Coming on the road and winning at a place like Heritage Hall is big for us,” Bolles said. “We've focused on one game at a time and just getting better each week. They don't look ahead to anything, and I think we've improved because of that focus. I felt like those tough nondistrict road games would really help us out, and it showed tonight in the second half.”
Newcastle will host Star Spencer next Thursday.
Heritage Hall (2-4, 1-2) was lead by senior receiver Domonique James, who had six receptions for 99 yards. The Chargers, who have dealt with several injuries this season, have a much needed bye next week.