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Posted: October 29, 2011 8:50 p.m.

Rams win, inch closer to playoffs

Two weeks ago, the Rams were an afterthought to make the state playoffs and it looked like Alcovy of all teams was going to be the county’s lone playoff team. Now, it’s entirely possible they could be the third county team to play an 11th game.

Newton’s playoff hopes got even stronger Friday after a 23-3 win over Langston Hughes and by virtue of Eastside’s 36-0 win over Eagles Landing, both teams are in prime position to make the postseason.

Javonte Williams continued his pursuit of 1,000 yards with another 100-yard game and scored two more touchdowns to lead the way as the Rams improved to 2-4 in Region 2-AAAAA play while winning for the second straight week.

Williams had touchdown runs of 65 and 15 yards as the Rams built a 14-0 lead. Nick Hardeman scored Newton’s other touchdown on a 5-yard fumble return. Tyrique Brown also made big plays on defense. He scooped up a fumble and returned it 43 yards and scored Newton other two points on a safety.

The Rams broke a four-game skid with a win over Westlake last week. In the process, they put themselves back in the playoff hunt after it looked like four straight region losses to open region play had relegated them to playing out the string. But Westlake stunned East Coweta with a 31-21 win the week before to put the Rams back into the mix.

Newton still needs some things to go their way. As it stands, Newton and Westlake are tied for fifth with two region wins apiece while East Coweta currently owns the fourth and final playoff spot with a 3-3 region record. But because the Indians lost to Westlake, it’s possible all three teams could finish the regular season with identical 3-4 region records. If that happens, the Rams would earn the fourth playoff spot based on their record against Class AAAAA opponents.

By virtue of Georgia High School Association rules, tiebreakers are decided by winning percentage against teams in the same classification. Should each team finish 3-4 in region play, the Rams would get the nod based on their two wins against Shiloh and Northview earlier in the season.

Newton’s playoff hopes hinge on three games. The Rams must first beat Luella at home Friday on senior night and hope Westlake beats Langston Hughes in its season-finale at home on senior night also on Friday. Then, the Indians must lose to Newnan. East Coweta travels to play the Cougars on their senior night.

Newton is in perhaps the best position of the three teams to capture the region’s final spot. If the games play out as history suggests, the Rams should beat Luella and Newnan will handle East Coweta. The Cougars haven’t lost to their rival in nine years and Newton has beaten Luella the past two years.

Westlake holds an important card as they would lose out even if they win if Newton wins. If Westlake loses, the Indians get the fourth seed win or lose regardless of whether the Rams win. Even if the Rams win and East Coweta loses, the two teams would finish with identical 3-4 region records but the Indians would win the tie-breaker based their win over the Rams in week five. Westlake must win its game.

If the Rams make it and Eastside wins its game against Henry County, it would be the second time the three county teams made the playoffs the same season. All three made it in 2009 for the first time since Alcovy became the third Newton County high school in 2006.

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