Lamenting the 56-7 loss against Lowndes, Newton football has been humbled after a 4-0 start to the season. The loss, although no one ever wants to lose, comes at the perfect time for the Rams as it gave them something to think about during the bye week before they’re set to face region foe Tucker this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Not only do the Rams begin region play against last year’s Region 2-AAAAAA champion, but it’s also Homecoming for the Tigers. The loss against the Vikings left a bad taste in Newton’s mouth, but that loss doesn’t have any playoff implications. A loss against Tucker would.
Rams’ head coach Terrance Banks stood in front of his team huddled around him after a Wednesday practice telling them everything that they want is in front of them. It was a focused, quiet atmosphere after the practice.
“We are just working on fundamentals,” Banks said. “The best thing that we’re trying to do is become a better Newton. That’s the only opponent that we can worry about, even when we have a game it’s just being the best Newton that we can be.”
“That’s the main thing. Just trying to make sure they’re not to down because they shouldn’t be. We’ve been here before,” Banks said. “Last year, we were in the same situation. We didn’t play two games, we went to Lowndes and loss, although it was a close one. We still bounced back. It’s a loss you can put out your rearview and you get ready for what’s next so that’s what you do.”
After the loss, Banks said Lowndes out-executed them. The Rams are focusing on that element in practice. In front of his team Banks said one simple thing that every coach ever probably has told his team, ‘Do your job, well.’
“Execution is rewarded. They want the reward, which is a win, so they gotta execute. It’s about doing what you’re supposed to do,” Banks said. “If the only thing you were supposed to do is take two guys and plug a gap then you take two guys and plug a gap. If the only thing you’re supposed to do is block that linebacker because the quarterback is gonna take care of the other linebacker then do that. That comes back to the trust and the brotherhood of it all. Just being in-tune with each other and that’ll take care of itself.”
Coming off an elite eight appearance where the Rams went deeper than any other 2-AAAAAA everybody wants to know if the Rams can win the region. The game against Tucker will answer that question.
Tucker is 3-2 with losses against Blackman and McEachern. The Tigers are coming off a 44-6 win against M.L. King, but all the Rams are concerned about is them. Newton is focused on making itself a better team first and Tucker second.
“The biggest thing that I want my kids to understand – I don’t mean this as disrespect to our fans, I love our fans – but I talk to my kids about focusing on people inside the bus. When you get into the streets, when you get home, everybody has an opinion. Everybody wants to worry about sometimes, themselves. ‘What about my catches? My runs? My tackles? My playing time?’ If you focus on team then everything individual comes,” Banks said. “[I’m] just trying to keep them focused on that, and if they do that then once they continue to gel as a team then we can go out there and play with Tucker, but if we got individualism and worried about me then Tucker gone eat us alive.”