Senior Hunter Newell (14) celebrates after scoring a touchdown Friday night against Litchfield.

PIASA - Senior Hunter Newell is proving to be a key piece of the Piasa Southwestern football team's offense so far this season.

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Through two games he is the Piasa Birds' leading receiver with 162 yards and three touch downs.

Friday night, in a 27-21 win over the Litchfield Purple Panthers, Newell had 145 yards on just seven catches. He also finished up with 24 yards rushing, eight tackles, and an interception.

Athlete of the Month is sponsored by

For his stellar performance, Hunter Newell is an Altonized Community Federal Credit Union Athlete of the Month for Southwestern High School.

Newell knew he had to step things up this season when the Piasa Birds lost one of their go-to receivers, junior Greyson Brewer, in week one against Gillespie. Brewer went down and was later confirmed to be out for the season with a broken clavicle.

“All the guys knew that we had to put the extra load on our back and step up, make some plays,” Newell said Friday night.

That's exactly what he and sophomore quarterback Blake Rimbey did as they improved to 2-0 on the season.

The last time the Piasa Birds started a season off 2-0, they made the playoffs.

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