After everything, injuries, penalties, bad plays on defense, miscues on offense last year's Cinderella team, Newton, was nine yards away from tying the game at 31 and eight yards away from a first down with 3:34 to play on fourth down.
The rivalry between Newton High School and Eastside High School didn't matter on Tuesday night as both the Rams' girls' and the boys' basketball teams won big with ease. The Lady Rams were up first and won 54-33 and then the boys took the spotlight and won 90-60.
Like their male counterparts, the Newton Lady Rams have a promising, deep, talented and young team. The Lady Rams were a basket or two away from beating Tucker in the Region 2-AAAAAA Championship but they fell 45-41 before losing by four in the first round of the state playoffs to Colquitt County. This year Newton is deeper, more experienced and looking to right the ship with a region title and a trip beyond the first round of the playoffs.
Senior quarterback Romario Johnson led a highly efficient Newton offense and finished with 329 yards of total offense and one touchdown helping to lift Newton to a 38-17 victory over East Coweta. Of the Rams' seven drives throughout the game, five resulted in points, one was a punt and the other was a kneel-down to end the game.
Friends and family of Ciara Bryan packed the Newton auditorium to celebrate Bryan's softball signing with the University of Georgia. Before the ink hit the paper, some of Bryan's friends went on stage with loving words for the Newton senior, forcing tears of joy to fall from Bryan's face. The highlight of the ceremony followed as Bryan signed her letter of intent, making it official that she would be a softball player for UGA beginning in Fall 2016.
Newton has earned a lot of offseason hype with the addition of highly sought after freshman guard Ashton Hagans, who has received an offer from the University of Georgia before stepping on the court. Hagans, along with returning guards JD. Notae and Jaquan Simms, hopes to form one of the best 'big three' in Region 2-AAAAAA.
With the County-Line Championship and the Region 2-AAAAAA Championship at stake, the Newton Rams (8-2,4-1 region 2-AAAAAA) took on region rival Rockdale County (2-8,1-4 region 2-AAAAAA) in the final regular season game. Newton dominated from the opening kickoff and pummeled Rockdale 42-0 to win the County-Line trophy and the region championship.
Coming off a lopsided 53-0 victory against Lakeside, the Rams are in sole possession of first place in Region 2-AAAAAA after Tucker defeated Lovejoy on Friday. Rockdale is the only thing standing in the way of Newton winning its first region championship since 1987 as the two rivals are set to face-off on Friday. Newton head coach Terrance Banks talked about the Rams focusing on Rockdale and what it would mean to win the region championship in this Q&A.
After a 20-16 upset to Lovejoy, Newton was left distraught and out of control of their playoff destiny. With two games left Lovejoy is the remaining undefeated team in region play and Newton will need help from Tucker if it plans to win the region. Some things went awry in the contest for Newton, but they did enough things right to win. Below you'll find some takeaways from the game and what they have to do with Newton's season going forward.
In a battle of the two remaining undefeated teams in the region Lovejoy (4-4, 3-0 Region 2-AAAAAA) and Newton (6-2, 2-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) met at Twelve Oaks Stadium on Friday night in what will likely determine the region champion, and Lovejoy came away with the 20-16 win.
Romario Johnson. Kurt Taylor Jr. Deandre Huff. Jeremiah Holloman. Artice Hobbs. Augustus Murray. All names of some of Newton's best skill position players, and by now, names that you likely know. But do you know, Lewis Naza, Dakori West, Jordan Reed, Chance Harrison, Javon Porteous-Punch, Karlen Singleton and Alex Jacobs? They make up Newton's undersized offensive line that has performed exceptionally well, helping to create big play opportunities for the Rams' skill players.
Today, Newton junior running back Kurt Taylor announced on Twitter that he had verbally committed to attend college and play football at Michigan University. Taylor has visited the school multiple times now, but when he went to see the Wolverines play Brigham Young three weeks ago Taylor knew right then that was the school for him as Michigan throttled BYU 31-0.
Britney Ellis' right knee popped in the third inning of a blowout against Tucker on September 24, senior night. Grimacing in pain on the brink of tears, Ellis asked for the trainer, Kelsey Ney, to take a look at it. She did. Ney worked her magic, but in order to finish the game, Ellis would have to play through the pain. And so she did.