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Newton needs to look forward to the future
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Although I'm a sports fanatic, I don't claim to know much, but I do recognize that in one year the Newton Rams will not be 1-6. Nor will there be nearly as many critics or empty seats at Homer Sharp Stadium as there have been this season, which has been rather disappointing to say the very least.

Former Dublin assistant coach Nick Collins was hired earlier this year to bring Newton football back to where it once was, when the Rams made the playoffs in 2003 and ended with an overall 7-4 record.

But the Rams have only had three winning seasons since 1995. In fact, the Rams have only won 10 games once (1987) since its inaugural 1949 season. And the problem is certain individuals have set expectations too high this season; demands that certainly will not be met. That being said, dividends will pay off in due time; however, that time is not now, nor will it happen before the end of the year.

Building a winning program not only takes time but patience and commitment. Results will not happen overnight, not even the next day after a good night's rest. Unfortunately, parents, boosters and fans sometimes fail to take this into account - they want results now; either put out or shut up.

And it's understandable because that's the world we live in. We live in a fast-paced, extremely selfish society where the focus is skewed regarding what really matters. The mentality is what can you do for me rather than what can I do for you?

This season I'm often asked why the Rams are experiencing such a dismal year. The answer is simple: This isn't the NFL, or even college football for that matter. This is high school football. Recruiting is slightly different than what it is at the higher level. And the bottom line is you play with what you have - period. You play with the talent you have wearing the blue and white.

Upon hearing that former Newton head coach Ben Reaves was leaving for Putnam County, several players quit, moved or transferred to a different school. Their mindset was either they didn't want to play for a new coach or their parents didn't want them playing for a new coach. In addition, some either opted to focus on a different sport or he simply fell out of love with the game.

To make matters worse, there was a moment when approximately one-third of the team was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules earlier this season (i.e. missing a scheduled meeting).

On the flip side, one could argue that Newton has not endured a tough enough schedule this season; therefore, there should be no excuses. Overall, their opponents have a combined record of 24-25, with just three out of seven teams having a winning record (Eastside, Luella and M.L. King).

And it will not get any easier for the Rams, as they face Stephenson on Saturday. Not only have the Jaguars won their past three meetings, but they have outscored Newton 125-0 during those games.

Truth is Collins has actually managed to do something that Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffmann and Eastside head coach Rick Hurst did not do in their first year, which was win a game. Granted, Alcovy was a new program last season, but each went 0-10 during his first year at the wheel.

Look at Putnam County, which hired Reaves to resurrect its program. The War Eagles currently have a record of 1-5-1. And I'm fairly sure he's undergoing his share of disparagement as well.

Nevertheless, the win over Lithonia - ugly as it was - is something the Rams can build on, as it became the first stepping stone to something great. Certain things are happening with Newton that doesn't necessarily show up in the record books or stat sheets.

Despite their record, the Rams have had several bright spots this season; a glimpse of what the future holds. Combined, it becomes the tip of the ice berg, and it's up to Collins and his coaching staff to develop these athletes, along with the rest of the team, in order to bring about the desired success.

First, freshman Kenneth Patrick is starting to emerge as the quarterback. Although he wasn't at the beginning of the season - hindered by several factors, including lack of preparation - Patrick has earned the starting role based on his work ethic and attitude.

Second, former tight end Quinton Pooler has shown signs of former Newton running back Rod Belcher, who now plays for Wittenberg University. The major difference between the two is ball control, but that will come as Pooler grows with experience. And he has another year to do so, as he is only a junior.

Third, Demetrius McCray has already become the leading receiver for the Rams. McCray began the season at quarterback, but soon found his calling at the wide receiver slot. This relationship will only develop with another year of experience under their belt, like it did with Alcovy quarterback Ryan Ledford and wideout Eric Strozier, along with Eastside's Justin Wray and Andrico Bailey.

For those of you who remain skeptical of the Rams, hey, Collins doesn't write my paycheck - I'm not obligated to provide justifiable reasoning backing a program that I have no official ties with.

My goal is to help you understand that if you believe it you can achieve it, and that's what Newton will do until there isn't one empty seat on Friday night.