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Posted: November 8, 2012 9:43 p.m.

Rams looking to tune up

The 2012 Georgia High School season ends today, but for the Newton Rams the season starts next week.

Newton travels to Morrow today, but its fate was already wrapped up last week. The Rams (4-5, 4-1 2-AAAAAA) defeated Luella 34-21 on Nov. 1 securing second place in the region and a home field game in the opening round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.

Heading into the matchup against Morrow, Newton will look to fine-tune itself for an upcoming matchup against either Newnan or East Coweta in the first round.

"What we can try to do this week in regards to that is get them to understand that we need to fine tune everything," Newton coach Cortez Allen said. "We need to try to clean up as many of our shortfalls and mistakes as we can."

Allen feels his team needs to work on limiting turnovers, refining its blocking assignments and dropping linebackers back in pass coverage. Fine tuning those things will help prepare for a first-round matchup, so that has the Rams seeing this game as important as next week's.

"The way we're approaching it is that this is our first playoff game," Allen said. "We need to make sure we maintain momentum and make sure the kids understand in the playoffs you win or go home. We're preparing them to go out and be able to take care of business. We're going to try to make good on our mistakes and things we've done in the past couple of weeks to improve on and keep building on positives."

Positives may be easy to find against Morrow, which comes in to today's game having lost its last seven. The Mustangs (1-8, 0-5) only victory this season was 12-6 against Forest Park, which has lost 22 of its last 23.

Newton, thanks to a loss to region champion and seventh-ranked (in the state) Lovejoy, has won four of its last five.

"Morrow won a state championship many years ago and has had some struggles with their program but they have some really good athletes," Allen said. "We have to make sure we go out and do our part and make sure we stay focused and make sure we understand we have to get one under our belts before we celebrate and enjoy the fruits of our labor with the playoffs."

The Rams will also be trying to bring along several new starters thanks to the injury of Aaron Pierce against Luella. Pierce, the Rams starting wide receiver, defensive back, punter and punt returner, dislocated his elbow and will sit today but may still play in the playoffs.

"We haven't ruled out next week yet," Allen said. "He's going through some therapy and we'll see how that goes.

"When you have a good athlete like Aaron, and something happens to him, we're looking at replacing a lot of different guys for that one."

Pierce and the rest of the Rams will be needed next week against the third seed out of Region 3-AAAAAA. There will also be extra attention paid to Newton's opponent as the two teams will have history.

East Coweta and Newnan face each other today in a rematch of East Coweta's 28-25 win a season ago. The victory marked the first in the series for the Indians in eight years. East Coweta's win also knocked then-region mate Newton out of the playoffs.

"We'll be kind of score watching there so we'll see who we'll match up with," Allen said. "Either way we're looking forward to playing a playoff home game."


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