COVINGTON, Ga. — Despite a dominant start from Newton, it was the visiting Rams of Grayson prevailed 15-7 in the Region 4-AAAAAAA showdown on Friday night at Sharp Stadium.
Newton’s offense looked unstoppable on its opening drive, marching flawlessly down the field 67 yards to take an early 7-0. After returning the opening kickoff to the Grayson 23-yard line, Newton took its time, using more than eight minutes of game time before quarterback Jevarra Martin Jr. connected with receiver Marcus Calwise for a 24-yard touchdown with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
But after Newton’s lone score, the offense struggled to find rhythm the rest of the night.
Due to a punishing defensive start by Newton, which forced a three-and-out on Grayson’s first possession, it wasn’t until the second quarter that the visiting Rams were able to reach the end zone.
Starting from the Newton 49-yard line, Grayson’s offense raced down the field in five plays over a span of just over one minute to cut Newton’s lead to 7-6. With 10:33 remaining in the second quarter, Grayson running back Joseph Taylor Jr. scored on a 5-yard rush. Grayson’s 2-point conversion attempt failed.
To answer, with 8:42 remaining in the quarter, Newton’s Martin found Calwise a second time for a 53-yard touchdown throw, but it was called back due to a penalty. After the error, the offense fell stagnant and was forced to punt.
After the two teams traded possessions, Grayson was next to score and took a 12-7 lead over Newton into halftime. After taking possession at the Newton 42-yard line, Grayson scored in just two plays. After an 11-yard completion by Taylor, running back Dylan Elder scored on a 31-yard run with 2:18 left in the half. Grayson failed another 2-point conversion attempt.
Both defenses tightened up in the second half, as only three points were scored over the final 24 minutes.
Grayson extended its lead to 15-7 after kicker Jimmy Gonzalez nailed a 48-yard FG with 5:03 in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, with under 11 minutes, Grayson’s Gonzalez missed a 22-yard field goal attempt.
The loss drops Newton to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in region play. The Rams have lost three straight.
Next week, Newton travels to South Gwinnett for its regular season finale and last Region 4-AAAAAAA match-up against the Comets.
With the win, Grayson finishes the regular season at 7-3 (4-1) and locked in at No. 2 in Region 4-AAAAAAA standings behind Brookwood.
As of Friday, Newton held the No. 3 ranking just ahead of Parkview, per MaxPreps.