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Posted: October 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Rams seek first region win, face Redan

So far in 2008, Newton has showed flashes of brilliance but has little to show for it. Stuck in the unforgiving Region 2-AAAAA, Ram coach Nick Collins doesn’t use that as an excuse. Instead, he continues to work hard in preparation for yet another tough foe Friday when the Rams travel to Panthersville to play Redan.

"We focused on us, getting back to the basics of what we do and trying to coach our mental approach to playing the teams in our region," Collins said.

A quick look at Redan’s says the Raiders have struggled. Coming off a 36-20 loss to Union Grove, Redan will be looking to rebound. The same thing can be said about Newton. One thing is for sure, Collins isn’t overlooking his winless opponent.

"Redan is a good team and the record fails to show it," Collins said. "We have to play well if hope to win."

The Rams were bit by two punt returns for touchdowns in last week’s game with Stephenson. Offensively, Newton struggled at times but Akeem Hunt showed his speed again as he ran for his second 80-plus yard touchdown-run of the year.

"Akeem has been a big play maker for us and we hope to get the ball to him as much as we can," Collins said. "But, because we are deep at the running back position, it’s tough to get all of them a good amount of touches."

The Rams nearly knocked off Eastside earlier in the season after Collins, who traditionally shies away from the option, implemented a steady does of option sets. He said the decision to run the option ultimately comes down to personnel. With Demetrius McCray at quarterback, Collins has a guy who sees the field and can find the gap.

"What you saw as far as the option goes, is part of our offensive scheme and it will continue to be a part of the scheme as long as it fits the quarterback," Collins said.

The Rams have been busy preparing for a desperate team. While both teams dropped its first region game last week, Newton has won a game. Collins knows Redan will most certainly come into Friday’s game ready to play.

"They (the Raiders) make big plays," Collins said. "We have to control the line of scrimmage and have to eliminate the long run or the long pass."

Collins says his team is focused and still believes it can make a move in the region. For the Rams to win Friday, he said his team will have to play within themselves and eliminate big plays.

"We have to win the special teams battle and we can’t give up big plays," Collins said. "We feel really good. I have said it before and will say it again, we expect to win."

Friday’s game is not a must-win for the Rams but Collins knows it is important to not fall too far behind. After a good week of practice, he said he will keep the same approach and expects the team to respond.

"This team is young and I think they are still in search of an identity," Collins said. "Part of the search deals with the faith to believe that they are just as good as any team in our region and that they are capable of beating any of them."

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