COVINGTON, Ga. — The Rams came out victorious in their regular season finale against South Gwinnett, 17-10, and clinched a spot in the Class AAAAAAA State Playoffs.
Defense was the theme of this match-up, with only one offensive score for each side on the night.
Rams star defensive back Nyland Green started the show by returning an interception for a touchdown on the Comets’ opening possession.
“It is amazing to get to spend this time with my guys and get a win at home and a trip to the playoffs,” Green said.
Green was also awarded Newton High School’s 2020 Homecoming King honors at halftime.
Justin Benton also made his presence felt in the first half, getting two huge tackles-for-loss that set up two different three-and-outs for the Comets offense.
The Rams defense also stalled an impressive drive by South Gwinnett that took over six minutes off the clock and included five first downs, which ended with zero points for the Comets.
The interception return by Green was the lone touchdown of the first half for both sides. The Rams took a 10-0 lead into the break.
South Gwinnett came out swinging in the second half, scoring on their opening possession that was set up by a kickoff return taken into Ram territory.
The Rams offense finally broke through halfway through the fourth quarter with Jevarra Martin Jr. connecting with a wide-open Ajay Green. The go-ahead score would end up being the last, with the Rams prevailing, 17-10.
Newton did not have to win Friday night to make the playoffs, but Rams head coach Camiel Grant Jr. was proud of his team for clinching on their own terms.
“Backing into the playoffs isn’t what you want to do,” Grant said after the game.
And while he is grateful for his team to be in this position, he recognized the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact.
“It’s a blessing, and I thank God that we were able to make it through the season,” Grant said. “I’m thankful that our guys and their families are healthy, and even though we are playing football, that is still the most important thing.”
The win caps off a 4-5 (2-2) regular season.
The Rams travel to Region 1’s top-ranked Colquitt County in the first round of the playoffs Friday, Nov. 27 or Saturday, Nov. 28.