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Newton fights hard to win first game of the season
Senior wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman catches a touchdown pass in Thursday's game against the Drew Titans. - photo by Anthony Banks

The young Newton High School football team overcame several mistakes in Thursday night’s game for a 25-13 victory against Drew High School.

“Defense played pretty well,” coach Terrance Banks said. “Offense — I knew they were young, but I’m proud of the way they kept fighting. They made a ton of mistakes and have a lot of stuff to clean up, but I’m proud of the way fought.”

Junior David Smith began the game as the starting quarterback for the Rams and threw a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman in the first quarter. The Rams missed the two-point conversion attempt and went ahead 6-0 with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

There were several turnovers in Thursday’s game. Smith fumbled the ball in the first quarter shortly after the first touchdown, and the Titans recovered at their own 46-yard line to take over as the quarter winded down. Newton’s Jaison Taylor intercepted a pass by Drew’s Gary Tyner to get the ball back for the Rams, but Smith fumbled again just two possessions later.

Coach Banks then brought in junior Myron Middlebrooks midway through the second quarter to take over at quarterback, and he shortly threw a pass to junior wide receiver Tyrese Peacock for a 99-yard touchdown with 3:11 left to go in the first half. The Rams went up 12-0 after missing a second two-point conversion attempt.

“We kind of knew that we were going to play both quarterbacks,” Banks said. “Middlebrooks kind of got hot, so we rolled it. I don’t know if that’s what we’ll stay with. We’ll have to watch film and grade it, and then get back to work next week.”

Drew answered with a 25-yard touchdown by C.J. Davenport right before the end of the quarter to bring the game within five and again with a catch in the end zone by Lloyd Wheeler in the third, giving the Titans a 13-12 lead early in the quarter. Both teams then began to rack up penalties, with one on Drew and three on Newton during the next possession, totaling 20 lost yards for the Rams.l

“We had too many penalties and turnovers,” Banks said. “If you don’t have penalties and turnovers, you always have a chance. Thank God we had a little bit more breaks, but we’re going to have to cut them out next week in a rivalry game.”

Middlebrooks ended the game with three touchdown passes, with one more to Peacock in the last seconds of the third and a pass to Holloman in the fourth to seal the 25-13 victory to top off his 151 passing yards. Holloman finished with two touchdowns for 52 yards to go along with a 60-yard punt, one tackle and one blocked punt.

Peacock came away with two touchdowns, 110 receiving yards and one fumble, while junior Roderick Kirkland registered seven carries for 84 rushing yards. Senior Jaquan Henderson finished with one sack and one fumble recovery.

The key to overcoming the turnovers and sloppy play by both teams was to continue fighting, Banks said.

“We tried to stress to them to just play the next play,” he said. “We told them to keep fighting and take care of business. We got the win, and now we have to go back to work.”

The Rams will return to action Friday, Aug. 26 to face Eastside at Sharp Stadium at 7:30 p.m.