Newton is using this spring football season to get its younger players ready for the 2012 season, in particular a player who will see a large part of the spotlight.
Sophomore Kemani Pittman is being worked as the No. 1 quarterback after playing 2011 as the junior varsity starter.
"Our number one concern is to see how our sophomore quarterback is," Newton coach Cortez Allen said. "We want to see how he's going to handle the quarterback duties."
Allen says, one week into practice, Pittman is doing well. He boasts a strong arm and good athleticism, but his main
goal this spring is to learn the offense and get used to running the varsity team.
"He's a very smart young man," Allen said. "He's doing a great job. He's got a big arm; right now we're just making sure he learns the offense well."
Pittman will help guide a team that went 6-4 in 2011 starting the season with four straight wins before losing four straight. Newton then defeated Langston Hughes and Luella to end its run in Region 2-AAAAA.
Thanks to realignment, the Rams will begin playing in Region 2-AAAAAA this season. Newton will join Alcovy, Rockdale and Druid Hills in subregion A.
"Our biggest thing (this spring) is to get ready for next season, to get a picture of what we're going to have and what our needs are going to be," Allen said.
Allen and his staff have had a chance to see that thanks to a lack of injuries and the effort of the Rams' players.
Among the veterans leading the way are defensive tackle Kingsley Ejike, defensive tackle Trayvon Richardson, wide receiver Aaron Pierce and running back Darious Dean. Those players also have helped bring several college coaches to Newton High during the last week as the recruiting scene heats up during spring practices.
"It's been going well," Allen said. "We've had a plethora of coaches go through to see the kids practice."
The schedule of the kids practicing this year has been a little different due to Newton's testing schedule.
The practices have been starting later so the student athletes could get study time in before getting on the football field.
The Rams, however, have still been getting the work in and will put it on display during their spring game Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Newton High.