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Newton football's offseason is off to fast start
NHS Spring Football
Newton hosted an intersquad scrimmage on Saturday, May 13. - photo by Anthony Banks | The Covington News

COVINGTON, Ga. — A lot has changed surrounding Newton High football since the Rams last walked off the field at Marietta in round one of the Class AAAAAAA playoffs on Nov. 12, 2022. 

Highly recruited athletes have graduated, former head coach Camiel Grant Jr., resigned and defensive coordinator Josh Skelton was promoted to lead the program. 

Skelton’s first task was leading the Rams through spring practice. And, from his perspective, Skelton liked what he saw across each practice session. 

“Practice has been fast. Our guys have been extremely physical. We wanted to see our guys strain and battle some adversity,” Skelton said. “I’m excited about our progression and I think we’ve seen a world of change since day one. They understand what we expect of them.” 

Defensively, Newton will look to replace 3-star athletes like Justin Benton, Olan Robinson and Anthony Bynum. Plus, secondary members like Brandon Smith and Kyle Veasley will no longer be a part of the Rams. 

In spite of that, Skelton doesn’t foresee any dropoff from the Newton defense standard set in the past few years. 

“Being who we are — being physical and being dominant — that’s what we’re going to do every day,” Skelton said. 

On the other side of the ball, a few questions were answered late last season. For example, then-freshman Deron Benson was promoted to QB1 in the last four games of last season — the Rams went 3-1 with Benson under center. He returns along with rising senior wideout Marcus Calwise and running back Zion Johnson. 

Unlike on defense, Skelton said fans should be prepared for a few tweaks from Newton’s offense. 

“Explosive, up-tempo and physical is who we are right now,” Skelton said. “I like how the offensive line has been responding. Our depth on the offensive line has been great. I think guys can expect a lot more fast ball.” 

Newton will transition to the team’s summer practice schedule in early June. Then, on Aug. 18, the Rams’ 2023 regular season schedule will commence. 

The Rams will hit the road to face Hapeville Charter — a team Newton beat in last season’s season opener at Sharp Stadium 20-19. 

But, for now, Skelton wants to see his players reach the next plateau. 

“The guys are understanding exactly what to do. Understanding that we’re not trying to trick anybody in terms of who we are on both sides of the ball,” Skelton said. “I want to see us continue to be more efficient in everything we do.”