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Marcus Calwise's perspective on 4 TD performance in Newton Rams football's blowout win over Alcovy
Marcus Calwise Newton Rams Football
Newton’s Marcus Calwise strides toward the end zone for a first half score in the Rams’ Friday night win over Alcovy.

COVINGTON, Ga. — If Alcovy football defenders learned anything Friday night, it’s that the level of difficulty of tackling Marcus Calwise is high. 

The junior wideout’s four-touchdown performance led the way for Newton to dominate the Tigers 48-6 on Friday night. 

Calwise drew high praise from head coach Camiel Grant Jr. following the game. 

“I think [Marcus] is the best in the state,” Grant said. “This probably my first time saying it publicly. You won’t find a better young man. He’s the most humble kid and one of the hardest working kids on the team. He loves playing.” 

The Calwise touchdown party started early on. However, his second score of the game drew a few “oohs” and “aahs” from a packed out Sharp Stadium. 

Riley Scruggs found Calwise open on a swing pass on the Rams’ second drive of the game. When Calwise looked up, he saw open space in front of him and took advantage of it for a 65-yard score.

On the end of the run, Calwise forced a few missed tackles by Alcovy defenders to conclude the run. But that didn’t deter Keon Davis from throwing his hands up in the air 20 yards behind the play already celebrating Calwise’s eventual score. 

Calwise shared his perspective on the path to the touchdown. 

“I just saw that [the defenders] had slow feet,” Calwise said. “And I know I’ve got quick feet and that’s what I did to get through that.” 

That wasn’t the first time Calwise scored. 

He capped off a five-play, 80-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown reception from Scruggs to give Newton a 7-0 lead exactly two minutes into the action. 

Players on the offensive depth chart were not the only ones who found paydirt in the lopsided victory. 

Justin Benton, a 3-star defensive lineman committed to West Virginia football powered through for a one-yard score to extend Newton’s lead 21-0 with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter. 

According to Grant, the play had been run numerous times at practice. But Benton still relished the opportunity when his number was called. 

“They surprised me when [the coaches] called it,” Benton said. “That is the first time I have scored a touchdown since little league. It was a surreal experience.” 

Newton’s lead was extended in the closing seconds of the first quarter when Calwise completed the hat trick. Once again, he maneuvered his way through the Tigers’ defense for a 36-yard touchdown. 

While Newton dominated the first 12 minutes, Alcovy rose up to make some noise. 

The Tigers’ defense forced three turnovers on three straight Rams possessions. 

At the 10:37 mark of the second quarter, Bernard Lackey intercepted Scruggs’ pass near the end zone. That turnover yielded three points when Braxton Crawford split the uprights to cut the Tigers’ deficit 28-3 — the first points Alcovy scored against Newton since its Aug. 17, 2018 matchup (1,469 days ago). 

The Rams’ next drive was stopped when Camren Newton recovered a fumble. Then, for a second time, Lackey intercepted a pass to steal a Rams possession. 

Those turnovers rendered zero points and the Tigers still trailed 28-3 at the half. Facing an uphill climb, Alcovy head coach Spencer Fortson commended his team’s determination to keep battling. 

“The defense [in the second quarter] is the defense we want to see,” Fortson said. “Flying to the ball and creating turnovers, that is the defense we want to see when they kick the ball off.” 

In the second half, Alcovy’s defense forced yet another turnover on a fumble recovery by Camren Newton but, as was the case for the first half, the Tigers couldn’t capitalize. In fact, the Rams’ defense forced their own turnover, which they cashed in on immediately. 

JaMarcus Presley intercepted Ashton Evans’ shuffle pass attempt and returned it 22 yards for a pick-6. Jefferson Hernandez’ PAT was no good, but Newton still lead 34-6. 

Calwise made one last highlight play when backup quarterback Jordan Nolley connected with him in the closing seconds of the third quarter for a 19-yard score. 

From there, the Rams’ defense continued to stifle the Tigers’ offense forcing numerous long third and fourth down attempts that were unsuccessful. Nolley, paired with Zion Johnson and Kweli Deloach in the offensive backfield, ate up the clock and solidified the Rams’ win. 

Crawford connected on a 29-yard field goal and, to place a nice bow on the victory, Johnson returned a kickoff for a touchdown. 

Newton’s side of Sharp Stadium erupted in cheers as, with the win, the Rams are one win away from claiming the 2022 Newton Cup outright.  

And, even though it was good to get the win, Grant believes his team has yet to play its best game. 

“I’m excited to see when we can put a complete game together. I think this is a special group and, that’s going to be the message to [the players] next week is, ‘let’s see if we can put a complete game together.’” 

As for Alcovy, it enters a BYE week looking to regroup from Friday’s loss. Fortson said it’ll be focusing on minor tuneups that he hopes will pay dividends moving forward. 

“If we get the little things right, the rest will take care of from there,” Fortson said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes and, when you get those right, we will be going in the right direction.”

Newton (2-0) will continue the Newton Cup rivalry with its matchup against Eastside (1-0) on Sept. 2. The following week, after Alcovy has a bye, Alcovy (1-1) and Eastside will conclude the rivalry.

Staff Correspondent Garrett Pitts contributed to this report.