HOSCHTON, Ga. — Sometimes it’s just not your night.
That proved to be the case for Newton on Friday when it went on the road to face Mill Creek in a non-region contest at Markham Field. Despite being granted numerous opportunities to cash in points, the Rams failed to capitalize as the offense was blanked in a 31-0 defeat.
The Hawks out-gained Newton 240 yards to 117 yards in total offense. The Rams’ defense settled in late, surrendering just 84 yards in the second half, but the club was unable to provide enough offense to make up ground after carrying a 24-0 deficit into the locker room.
Newton head coach Camiel Grant Jr. was visibly upset following the loss. Asked about his message to his team, he didn’t pull any punches.
“The first thing they’re going to have to understand is how upset I am with their effort,” Grant said. “That’s not the brand of football that we’re trying to play here at Newton. That was just poor. I’m extremely disappointed in that.”
Grant praised his defense for rebounding after a rocky opening quarter but pleaded for a quicker wake-up call. As for his offense, he didn’t mince words when lamenting the production of the unit.
“We played poorly on offense from every position. They had a better effort than us,” Grant said. “They got off the ball, they pushed us around. We made poor reads. We made poor decisions with the football. They completely outplayed us on that side of the ball. No questions about it.”
Newton’s offensive woes began less than two minutes into regulation.
On the Rams’ first drive of the night, junior quarterback Jevarra Martin Jr. lobbed a pass into coverage in a third-and-long situation. Mill Creek sophomore Caleb Downs pulled it down for an interception and raced up the right side of the field for 29-yard touchdown, putting the Hawks up 7-0.
After promptly forcing a punt, Mill Creek’s offense went straight to work. The Hawks’ first possession ended with points as sophomore quarterback Hayden Clark connected with fullback Christian McIntyre, who trucked defends on his way to a 21-yard touchdown. Mill Creek held a 14-0 lead at the 4:50 mark.
A 30-yard field goal off the foot of senior Brock Pellegrino stretched the Hawks’ advantage out to 17-0 with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. On Mill Creek’s first play from scrimmage in the second quarter, senior running back Joshua Battle tightroped the left sideline for a 17-yard touchdown.
Newton would take the 24-0 deficit into halftime.
Mill Creek’s final points of the night came with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter, when junior Donavan Journey scored with easy on a 9-yard rush.
Newton will try to right the ship before next week when it travels to scorching hot Grayson to resume Region 4-AAAAAAA play.