Tim and Charlie Newman were the star running backs at Olympic High School nearly 38 years ago, and there’s one game from the 1981 season they’ll never forget.
The Newmans combined for more than 200 yards rushing in the first half of a 28-16 win at Myers Park on the Mustangs’ homecoming. It was the highlight of a 5-5 season.
“Everything was perfect that night,” said Charlie Newman, who went on to play for Mack Brown at Appalachian State. “Every hole was there, every block. We were a little ticked off because they were playing us on their homecoming and we felt like coming into the season that we were one of the better teams around. We made a pact that day that we would have a big game.”
Friday night, Charlie Newman’s nephews and Tim Newman’s sons will suit up for Myers Park, when the nationally ranked Mustangs kick off the season against Olympic. The younger Newmans have a similar pact, albeit for different reasons.
Tim Newman Sr. calls it a great case of deja vu.
Tim Newman Jr. is senior at Myers Park who played varsity last year in a reserve role. He ran for 243 yards and four touchdowns for the N.C. 4AA state semifinalist and will start in the backfield this season. Jacob Newman is a sophomore who plays running back and receiver. He ran for 169 yards on varsity last season as a freshman, while starring on the JV team.
This year, the Newmans are together full-time.
“It’s just so special to see my boys play together,” said Tim Newman Sr., who became an NCAA Division II All-American at J.C. Smith and briefly played with the New York Jets. “It’s a blessing from God. I always dreamed of something like this and I’m so happy. Those memories of me and Charlie playing together are very clear, but personally, I think (Tim Jr. and Jacob) are better than me and Charlie, so it’s a little scary. I can’t wait to see how well they play.”
Tim Jr. said he and Jacob haven’t regularly played together since he was 9 and Jacob 7 in Pop Warner ball. He said he’d heard the stories of the Myers Park homecoming game from his uncle and father many times, and ever since he found out the Mustangs would open with Olympic this season, he’s been getting ready for his chance to top what his relatives did.
And Tim Sr. and Charlie had big nights.
Back in ‘81, Olympic was 4-2 heading into the Myers Park homecoming game. Charlie ran 13 times for 137 yards and a touchdown in the first half against the Mustangs. Tim ran nine times for 117 yards and two touchdowns. They each had two-point conversions runs. The Trojans led 28-0 at halftime and the reserves finished the game.
Olympic lost its final three games of the season and missed the playoffs, but nearly 40 years later, the brothers still talk about the ‘81 Myers Park homecoming. Friday, Charlie said, all those memories will come rushing back when he climbs into the stands to watch his nephews play his alma mater.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “Tim and I went to Olympic and had a lot of success, but this is blood, so blood is thicker than your old school. I’m excited for the boys. Now that they are playing and both playing running back, it makes you feel good that you set a bar for them, and let’s see if they can beat it.
“We’ll see what happens.”
Said Jacob Newman, a Division I recruit in basketball: “It’s definitely a big game for us. It was a big game for them way back when. But I feel like there’s big things to come from me and my brother this year. We’ve got big expectations for this game. We’ve been looking forward to this game all summer and we’re ready to step on that big stage when the time comes.”