On a night where penalties nearly cost it the game, the Newton football team grabbed a 34-32 victory over the Peachtree Ridge Lions Friday to remain undefeated.
“The key to this win was the resiliency of our boys and the fact that they fought for the whole game,” Newton head coach Terrance Banks said. “They were never worried. When we got down early, when we came back, even when we got down again, they knew they were going to win.”
The Rams (2-0-1) did indeed go down early in the first quarter as the Lions (1-3) controlled the majority of the first quarter, scoring both a 26-yard field goal and a touchdown during the first nine minutes of the game for an 11-0 lead.
Newton got the ball on its 34-yard line but was short of the first down after three straight plays. On fourth-and-1, senior JJ Holloman ran a Myron Middlebrooks pass 65 yards down to the Lions 2-yard line, and Middlebrooks took the ball into the end zone on the next play to cut the lead down 11-7 with 1:04 left in the first.
Just seconds later, Robert Black intercepted a Lions pass and returned it for a pick-6, giving the Rams a 14-11 lead at the 52-second mark. The Rams scored their third unanswered touchdown midway through the second quarter after a Middlebrooks pass to Holloman, but the Lions responded with two in a row to go up 25-21 heading into halftime.
Both teams went scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the third. On third-and-7 at the Ram 14-yard line, Middlebrooks narrowly avoided a sack and quickly threw the ball to Tyrese Peacock who ran the ball for an 86-yard touchdown to put them back up by three.
Down 32-28 with just more than a minute left, quarterback Blake Brock threw a pass in the end zone to David Butso for the 34-32 lead. Defense held on for the final minute of the game, sealing the Ram victory.
“They made some plays when we needed them to,” Banks said. “We still have a lot of things to clean up, and we have two weeks to do so before we get to region play, but I was proud of how they kept fighting the whole game.”
Much like in their previous games, penalties were a major issue for the Rams. There were 14 flags called against Newton in Friday’s game, with one resulting in the ejection of Elija Godwin. The Rams will need to get a handle on their mistakes quickly as they are set to travel to Valdosta, Georgia to face Lowndes High School (3-1), who handed Shiloh a 37-0 loss on Friday.
“I think Monday we’ll do something to kind of get a reminder on being disciplined,” Banks said of how he’ll get his team to work on penalties.
Newton will kick off against Lowndes Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.