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Lovejoy outmatches Newton
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Since Region 2-AAAAAA play began, Newton has looked like one of the best teams the new league had to offer.

However, Friday night proved Lovejoy is in a league all on its own after beating the Rams 51-6 at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

Both teams came in with unbeaten records and with the region championship on the line, and for the first couple of minutes it looked like a great title matchup. However, Lovejoy's wealth of talent quickly came to the surface.

"We knew we had to play above our heads and we did that initially," Newton coach Cortez Allen said. "We just got outmatched."

The Wildcats were held to a field goal on their first drive of the game, and Newton made the lack of seven points hurt.

Needing 10 yards from their own 20 the Rams went to the arm of Kemani Pittman and the hands of David Comer who juked and spun his way to a 63-yard reception, putting Newton on Lovejoy's 17-yard line.

The Rams were held shy of the first down on three tries, and went for it on fourth down, James Hardeman ran the play for 7 yards and a Newton touchdown. Lovejoy had a penalty on the point after, changing Allen's mind about kicking it, but the conversion failed and Newton led 6-3 with 4:01 left in the first quarter.

"We had a great deal of momentum; we jumped out quck," Allen said.

It would be the Rams only lead of the night.

Lovejoy scored 48 unanswered points, including 34 in the second quarter as Newton couldn't get any offense going and Lovejoy spread it around with the running of Georgia Tech signee Travis Custis and the passing of Alejandro Bennefield.

The Rams turned the ball over five times and managed just 104 yards and six first downs.
Bennefield put the Wildcats ahead for good on a 17-yard touchdown to 6-foot-6 wide receiver Arshad Jackson and Lovejoy never looked back.

On the Rams' ensuing drive, James Hardeman fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage, and Lovejoy's Cinwon Whitehead recovered on the Rams' 22-yard line.

Following the fumble, Custis rumbled up the middle of the field for a 22-yard score but it was called back on holding. However, that wouldn't stop the Wildcts.

On the next play, Preston Williams caught a 29-yard pass, which was deflected into his hands. After that Custis picked up the first of his three touchdowns with ease on a 3-yard run.

Custis struck again on the Wildcats' next drive, this time for 7-yards and a 24-6 lead with 6:40 to go in the second quarter.

From there Bennefield took over the scoring load, first throwing a 4-yard pass to JaMichael Ramos.
While Newton's defense was under a scoring barrage, the Rams offensive line and Pittman was dealing with a barrage of its own as the Wildcats constantly brought the pocket under pressure.

"They were able to expose some weaknesses we had on our offensive line," Allen said. "We've been hurt all year. We had a lot of injuries and those kids we've got on there have been getting reps and doing well and tonight they just got overmatched."

That pressure led to three interceptions, including one in the end zone with about a minute left in the first half. Lovejoy's Brandon Davis returned the interception from deep in the Wildcats' end zone to the Newton 46.

From there Bennefield found Ramos again, for a 33-yard score, with 50 seconds left in the first half to round out the second quarter scoring with Lovejoy ahead 37-6.

To open the second half, Lovejoy was limited to its first punt of the game, but Newton couldn't make the rare offensive stumble count

On the ensuing drive, Pittman threw an interception to Montrell Custis putting Lovejoy on the Newton 21. Travis Custis turned the interception into six points on a 13-yard run, and after the extra point, Lovejoy led 44-6 with 3:17 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats final touchdown came on Tyrell Brown's 26-yard fumble return with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

Even though the Rams missed out on a top seed, they will still be a representative of Region 2-AAAAAA in the state playoffs, with a tiebreaker win over region one-loss Alcovy and two-loss Rockdale. The Rams host Luella Thursday before finishing up the regular season at Morrow Nov. 9, trying to hold on to the No. 2 seed and a home-field playoff game.