By Mike Deak
NAPPANEE – While not in the same immediate family, Joe Newcomer and Nate Newcomer were thinking the same thing.
Both NorthWood High School senior cousins announced their college football commitments this week, Nate signing with the University of St. Francis and Joe to Wabash College.
Nate Newcomer had a limited sample size in his senior season, playing just five of NorthWood’s eight games after being knocked out of week two against East Noble with a concussion. While in action, Newcomer was a two-way player, but served as NorthWood’s primary quarterback. He completed 53 percent of his passes, throwing for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Running with the ball, Newcomer had 57 carries for 343 yards and three touchdowns.
In a regular season win against Wawasee, Newcomer had 130 rushing yards and a touchdown, and a week later against Northridge, he combined for 199 total yards in a game that featured just one touchdown.
On the defensive side, Newcomer had 10 tackles in the secondary, but as a special teamer, had 354 combined return yards to set up the offense.
Newcomer will join the Cougars, coached by the legendary Kevin Donley. In 22 years with the program, Donley had led the team to two national titles and carries an 81 percent win percentage. The Cougars and the Crossroads League did not play football this past fall, electing to carry on this spring.
Joe Newcomer made his name as a Panther on the defensive side of the ball. The linebacker made 44 stops and 3.5 tackles for loss along with a sack in eight games. In each of the three contests with Concord, Northridge and Warsaw, Newcomer made seven tackles. Newcomer also saw a few snaps on offense, rushing five times for 15 yards and making three catches for 24 yards.
Newcomer will become a Little Giant in Crawfordsville, joining Don Morel’s successful program. The Little Giants have gone 32-9 in the past four years under Morel as head coach, where he was named the NCAC Coach of the Year in 2018 and 2019. Wabash did not play in 2020.
Both Newcomers played for Nate Andrews, who guided the program to a 4-4 mark in 2020. The program won 29 games and a Northern Lakes Conference championship (2018) in the four years the Newcomers were in high school.