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Newton football's comeback against McEachern falls short
NHS vs. McEachern
A group of Newton defenders tackle a McEachern runner during their Friday night matchup. - photo by Anthony Banks

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. — A slow offensive start pitted the Newton Rams football team Friday night as it struggled to put drives together against a tough McEachern defense, ultimately leading to a 31-21 loss.

The loss marks the first for the Rams in 2022, following a strong 3-0 start to the season.

After kicking the ball off to begin the game, the Rams were caught by surprise as the Indians went to the air immediately on the first play.

McEachern quarterback Jaydon Kinney took a deep shot and connected with RJ Echols for the 69-yard score. The Indians led by six following the missed point-after attempt.

The Rams caught a rhythm halfway through the first quarter courtesy of sophomore Zion

Johnson, who ripped off a big 50-yard touchdown to put the Rams in front with 7-6.

Following Johnson’s big play, the Rams’ offense was shut down for the remainder of the half allowing the Indians’ offense to establish a rhythm. 

First, it was Pittman finding Savion West in the flat with West streaking down the sideline for the score.

Pittman led another scoring drive halfway through the second quarter culminating on a nifty play where he fooled the Rams with play action to connect with Jace Ward who was wide open in the back of the end zone.

The Indians scored one more time before halftime on a 22-yard field goal to take a 23-7 advantage into the locker room. 

It took just one more stalled drive — this one on Newton’s first possession of the third quarter — to trigger a quarterback change in hopes of sparking the offense.

Coach Camiel Grant handed the offense off to freshman Deron Benson who took over for starting signal caller junior Riley Scruggs.

Despite the change, all of the Newton drives in the third quarter ended with punts as theoffensive woes continued.

Meanwhile, Pittman scored his fourth touchdown of the game late in the third quarter when he once again connected with Echols on the 21-yard score.

With under a minute left in the third quarter, Benson finally delivered the spark that Grant was looking for as he led the Rams down the field before connecting with junior Marcus Calwise on the 21-yard touchdown.

The pair of Benson and Calwise struck again on the next Newton drive as the freshman lobbed the ball to Calwise as he crossed the goal line for the 15-yard touchdown.

The touchdown was the seventh of the season for Calwise, who’s in the midst of a breakout season.

Following the score, the Rams’ defense grabbed some momentum of their own as Wayne Patterson reached up to grab a one-handed interception of a Pittman pass to with one-hand to give Newton  the ball near the Indians 25-yard line.

But as was the theme for much of the night, Newton’s offense stalled and the turnover resulted in no points for the Rams as their fake field goal attempt failed to garner a first down. The ill-fated attempt assured the Rams their first loss of the season.

Both Johnson and Calwise put forth quality games despite the loss. Johnson rushed for 99 yards and a score while Calwise tallied 87 receiving yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Along with the loss, the Rams (3-1) will go into the week with a few questions to answer — particularly at quarterback — following a quality showing by Benson in relief. It was the freshman’s first major action of the season.

Newton will stay on the road next week, traveling to Atlanta to take on Westlake (2-2) at 7:30 p.m.