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Playoff hopes intact for Rams
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The Newton Rams kept their playoff hopes alive Friday night on the road, defeating Luella in a 13-7 defensive battle.

The win gave the Rams their fourth victory of the season, but more importantly, it moved Newton's region record to 3-2 overall.

With a loss in their regular season finale, the Luella Lions fell to 3-3 in region play.

The Rams are guaranteed a spot in postseason, and can clinch the No. 2 seed in Region 8 with a win next week and help next week.

"It feels good that we got a win," Newton coach Terrance Banks said. "This game truly was a must win and it feels good that we got it. We're going to celebrate the win until Saturday, and then get right back to work."

The Lions struck first in the second quarter, knocking back the Rams with a long touchdown run after a scoreless first quarter.

Luella took a 7-0 lead with the score, but the Lions' lead was short-lived, as the Rams' DeAndre Huff answered with an 87-yard kickoff return.

The Rams took their first lead of the contest in the fourth quarter on an Augustus Murray 2-yard touchdown run, securing their spot in the postseason with the 13-7 final.

"We were very inconsistant tonight, especially on the offensive side of the ball," Banks said. "They did a good job of defending us. We missed a few shots down the field that we could have taken advantage of, but it's still something we have to work on."

Banks said that his defense played excellently in the road environment.

"I'm very proud of our defense and how they handled themselves tonight," he said. "We've had a lot of injuries on that side of the ball and guys stepped up and made big plays for us tonight."

One of those big plays came in an interception from Daquan Porteous-Punch.

"Daquan and Augustus played big for us tonight," Banks said. "That's what we needed tonight."

The Rams will host the Morrow Mustangs at home next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Sharp Stadium.

Newton is 7-5-1 all-time against the Mustangs and has won four of the last five against Morrow.

"It's a big game for us," Banks said. "We still have a chance to play a home playoff game at Sharp Stadium."

The Rams would need help, as the Alcovy Tigers would have to fall to the Lovejoy Wildcats to help Newton clinch the No. 2 seed. The Tigers currently hold the No. 2 seed in Region 8-AAAAAA.