The Newton Rams tipped their hand in the first two minutes of their homecoming region battle, losing 18-13 to the Frederick Douglass Astros on a drizzly Friday evening at Sharp Stadium.
“I can’t complain about the effort,” head coach Nick Collins said. “The effort was there, we just beat ourselves.”Douglass won the toss but deferred to the second half. Newton (3-5, 2-3 in Region 2-AAAAA) fumbled the onside kick to start the game, but the Rams’ defense held the Atros to two yards to force a punt. Newton started its first drive from its own 4-yard line and went 96 yards on one play when quarterback Demetrius McCray called his own number and took the pigskin on a 96-yard scoring romp for the first score of the game. Cody Sandler’s point after try sailed perfectly through the uprights to give Newton a 7-0 lead with 10:17 left in the first period. Newton came right back with an onside kick and recovered the ball at their 49.The Astros’ defense adjusted quickly to the Rams’ running game and stopped McCray for no gain on the first play, before throwing him for a 1-yard loss, then stopping D.J. Hill after a 3-yard gain. Newton attempted a fake punt but the Astros weren’t fooled at all. McCray ran to the left side of the Astros’ defense but was stopped after a 3-yard gain. Douglass got the ball on downs at the Newton 42 to start its first possession of the game.The Astros went 60 yards in five plays and scored off a 3-yard touchdown run, but the 2-point conversion try failed and the Astros came within one point of the Rams to go in at the half down 7-6.
The Astros took the lead when Braylon Williams connected with Jamal Morton for a 44-yard touchdown pass. The two-point try failed and the Astros led 12-7 with less then 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Rams went on an 11-play, 60-yard drive, capped by a 6-yard D.J. Hill run. After the failed extra point, the Rams led 13-12 with three minutes left in the third period.
Early in the fourth quarter, Williams connected with Morton again, this time for 22 yards to give Douglass an 18-13 lead with 10:48 left in the game.
Newton got the ball at its own 35 but went three-and-out to give the ball back to Douglass at the 32.
After holding Douglass, the Rams tried to take the ball down the field for the game-winning touchdown but failed to get the first down on a fourth-and-7 attempt. Douglass took over with 55.7 seconds left to play.
“We put ourselves in bad situations,” Collins said. “We messed up in every situation you could think of. We did it on offense, we did it on defense, we did it in the kicking game and we didn't make any plays. That's it. We didn't make plays and they did.”
The loss all but sealed any chance of a playoff berth for the Rams who have to face Union Grove (7-0 overall, 5-0) next week at Union Grove.