COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton Rams came into Eastside high school as a huge underdog but emerged victorious as first-time Newton Cup champions after defeating the Eastside Eagles and Alcovy Tigers.
The Rams came out and seemed in control in their initial match against the Eagles and defeated them by a 48-34 total. The Rams match with the Tigers was much closer and came down to the final match where Rams senior Micah Bryant stepped up to bring the cup home.
In the final period of a back-and-forth match, Bryant took control and pinned his opponent to secure a tight 42-41 victory over the Alcovy Tigers and their first-ever Newton Cup.
Bryant was ecstatic with the win and credited one thing to him earning this victory, as he constantly had it on his mind throughout the duration of the tough match.
"Just discipline, I wanted to win for the team, and I wanted to make history," Bryant said. "Newton, as everyone knew, We have never gotten the Newton Cup before, but now we have so we made history, and I'm glad to be a part of it."
Although it may be easy to relish in such a historic victory, Bryant is ecstatic about the win but wants to keep building on the success.
"I'm hungry, hungry, I'm happy, but I'm hungry," Bryant said. "I am just happy for my whole team and my school."
This final match, which was separated by a single point, did not come easy, and the Rams had to fight their way back into the contest. Their match with the Tigers led off with the heavyweights, and Alcovy eeked out a 6-5 victory from Yahir Coronado defeating the Rams' Malachi Arnett.
Coronado's victory put the Tigers up 5-0, and back-to-back Rams' forfeits gave the Tigers an early 17-0 lead. Pins Kenneth Session in the 120 lbs. weight class, Jamar Hassan in the 126 lbs. weight class and Orlando Gonzales in the 132 lbs. weight class flipped the script and gave Newton a one-point lead over the Tigers.
The Rans and Tigers would trade points over the next few bouts, with the Tigers eventually taking a commanding 41-30 lead over the Rams.
The Rams would have to secure two pins in order to get the win, and they would do just that as Jesus Zuniga pinned his opponent in the 195 lbs. weight class match.
With the score at 41-36, that would leave Bryant for the Rams, and he would secure the victory for his team. After looking at the Newton Cup, the words Newton high school did not appear a single time on the cup, but that will all change after this year.
Rams head coach Tommy Gregory could not be more proud of his team in their historic win, but he tributes the success that they found on the mat to their discipline and their never-quit mentality.
"It feels outstanding, man. We've been working hard and trying to develop the type of crew that puts discipline before everything, and hopefully tonight, that element was the tool that took us to where we are now," Gregory said. "The most pleasing thing to me was my guys' ability to fight even when we were down in points or down in team score."
Gregory is hopeful that this success is the first of many and said that he hopes that "the tide is turning" for this program in this sport, and he is blessed to be a part of it.