Homecoming night was memorable for all the wrong reasons Friday night for the Newton High varsity football team, as the Rams stumbled 56-23 to region-leading Lovejoy at Sharp Stadium.
Newton (3-5, 2-2) didn’t seem to have a chance from the opening kick, as Lovejoy (8-1, 5-0) compiled a number of big plays against the Rams’ normally stout defense.
Newton’s offense was able to move the ball, but never came up with a big score it they needed it.
“It was going to go one of two ways,” Newton coach Terrance Banks said. “It was either going to be a close game, or they were going to make a run on us. They were really explosive tonight.”
Lovejoy started its offensive field day on its second drive of the game. Quarterback Khaleel Rogers connected with Kevin Morris on a short pass that Morris took 72 yards down the field for a touchdown.
Morris’ score was just the start for Lovejoy. In the beginning of the second quarter, Lovejoy had the ball on its 5-yard line. Rogers connected with Preston Williams on a screen pass that he took 95 yards down the sideline for a touchdown, extending the Wildcats’ lead to 14-0.
The Wildcats crossed the goal line two more times before Newton finally got the ball into the end zone.
Taylor Hawkins started the drive off well with a kickoff return that set the Rams up in good field position, and Newton quarterback Romario Johnson took a quarterback keeper down the field for 23 yards into the Wildcats’ red zone.
Johnson connected with receiver Davonta Jones for a seven yard touchdown towards the end of the second quarter, sending the Rams into the half down 28-7.
Lovejoy came out the half ready to continue its early offensive masterpiece. The Wildcats marched the ball down the field on their first drive in the second half, finishing off the drive on running back DeRico Tilley’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Newton did respond, however, on its next drive, as Johnson scrambled down the field for 59 yards to the Lovejoy 2-yard line. Malik Huff scored the two plays later with 2-yard touchdown run.
Lovejoy dominated the game after Huff’s score, outscoring Newton 21-8.
Two of the Wildcats’ touchdowns came from receiver Williams, one on a reception from quarterback Quintarius Neely and another on a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the receiver's third score of the game.
Newton did score again before the final buzzer, as Jones connected with Huff for a 27-yard touchdown.
The Rams return to action next week on the road against Luella. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.