COVINGTON, Ga. — The Newton boys soccer team could not keep up the same level of intensity in the second half that it had in the first, as three goals second-half goals helped hand Newton a 4-1 loss against Grayson in a Region 8-AAAAAAA match on Thursday.
“We just ran out of gas a little bit,” said Newton coach Marcus Taylor. “Early on, when we had a lot of gas, we put a lot of pressure on the passes making sure the passes were going back and not giving them the opportunity to turn. In the second half we lost our defensive poise.”
Trailing 1-0 early in the contest, Newton went on the attack, taking shots while limiting Grayson’s opportunities. Newton had its best scoring opportunity with nine minutes left in the first half when it had a 3-on-2 advantage. But they couldn’t capitalize, as the shot sailed harmlessly over the goal.
“We had a lot of blown opportunities that we just couldn’t bring back in the net,” said Taylor. “We had six or seven chances at the goal. You have to give their goalkeeper a lot of credit. He stopped about two of them and the post stopped two of them.”
Grayson caught Newton’s defense off guard to start the second half as the visiting Rams scored at around the 37-minute mark, stretching its lead to 2-0.
“He went down the wing and we didn’t track him,” Taylor said of Grayson’s goal scorer. “We weren’t in good defensive shape and gave up a soft goal.”
Four minutes later, Newton had a chance to keep the game close as Tariq Davis had a shot on goal. But Grayson goalkeeper Jackson Pruehs deflected the ball, maintaining Grayson’s two-goal advantage.
With 27:54 left in the game, a series of cross passes got the Newton defense out of position, allowing Grayson to make it 3-0. After scoring a goal at the 22:18 mark to make it 4-0, Newton’s Dante Graydon, on a pass by Davis, was able to get the ball past the charging Grayson keeper with 15:27 left in the game to provide the game’s final margin.
Newton continued to apply pressure on Grayson’s defense but failed in its effort.
“There were a lot of positives we can take away from the game,” said Taylor. “I guess you have to believe in moral victories when you lose. But I think we played hard. We showed the best team in the region that we can play. We just have to put it together.”
In the girls game, Grayson put its first goal on the scoreboard a minute into the contest, and continued to light it up throughout the night, beating Newton 10-0 and scoring all its goals in the first half, ending the game without playing the second half.
Both teams will look to rebound in region play Tuesday when they travel to Archer.