Coming off a thriller in Rome going for a fourth-straight win, Newton found itself on the road yet again, against another tough opponent in Westlake. The Rams, however, came out of the game unscathed as Newton’s offensive line tossed Westlake’s defense around like ragdolls and the ground-and-pound game led the Rams to a 27-7 victory. Newton’s Kurt Taylor Jr. finished with 30 carries for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
“My defense was outstanding and my offensive line was incredible. Kurt Taylor Jr. proved a point on who he is so that is a synopsis of how that went. Kurt had 30 carries for 209 yards,” Terrance Banks, Newton head coach, said.
Romario Johnson had one rushing touchdown from 16 yards out and Nick Muniz-Ramirez added two field goals from 32 and 37 yards out.
The Covington News spoke with Banks regarding the win, Newton’s defense, the running game and their next matchup with somewhat rival Lowndes in this exclusive Q&A.
The Covington News: What stood out most for you in this game? The defense holding Westlake to seven points or the offense?
Terrance Banks: Everything. The defense holding Westlake to seven points – they returned a kickoff down to our 20 and they couldn’t get in. They were able to get seven points, but my defense played lights out, especially after the Rome game where we didn’t tackle and Rome was able to run the ball on us. We were able to hold Westlake under 150 yards of offense. It’s always so much talk about Romario and passing the ball, we only threw two passes in the second half. Kurt carried the ball 30 times for 209 yards, so it was proof that Newton can do whatever it needs to to win games and it doesn’t always have to be to JJ or the Deandre or the Artice show, it can be somebody else. To have over 300 yards of offense and to have 250 come from running the ball, it’s incredible.
CN: What was the gameplan as far as stopping Westlake on defense?
Banks: Stopping the run. Westlake is successful stopping the run. They like the playaction pass and spread out passing so when they can stop the run, they’re successful.
CN: How were you able to attack them offensively?
Banks: Running the ball. We watched film and our offensive line, we thought we might be able to have some success running so when we started running our offensive line said, ‘Coach please don’t throw it. Please don’t. We can move them and get Kurt holes.’ And that’s what they did. They moved them and Kurt got a crease and he toted it. It was a thing of beauty. Like I say, we only threw it two times in the second half. My offensive line said, ‘No matter what.’ It was third-and-goal on the four and I was gone throw it, we got called for a penalty and my offensive line looked at me and said, ‘Please don’t call that. Call a run.’ And I ran it and Kurt ran it in the end zone from nine yards out.
CN: Which of your players had a huge impact that helped push the game in your favor?
Banks: It was just a good plan of attack. The boys were sound, the boys had a good belief that they were fine.
CN: You guys have won four straight games, three of which were on the road. How important is it to you for the team to be able to travel and play well and how much of a factor can that be down the road?
Banks: You gone have to win a game in the playoffs probably on the road even if you’re a one-seed and you lose the coni flip, you’re gonna have to go in somebody’s house and win. So we pride ourselves on doing that in the preseason, going to somebody else’s house and dealing with the crowd because you’re gonna have to deal with it at some point to win a big game. You can’t avoid it. I think coaches that run from going on the road, they’re not putting their kids in the best situation. I’d rather take a loss in September than take a loss in December.
CN: Lowndes is up next, an extremely tough place to play on the road, but you’re 1-1 against Lowndes since coming to Newton. Both games have been close. What’s the theme in practice going to be this week in order to leave Lowndes with a fifth-straight victory for the Rams?
Banks: Continue to get better. Continue to get healthy. Continue to work out some kinks. We wanna beat Lowndes, we want to win the game of course. Our main thing is getting ready for October when the games count for us, but we wanna continue to work on the things that Newton’s gone need the last five games to set us up to get to the playoffs. And that’s gone be key. It’s always great to go to Lowndes, it’s a hostile environment. That’s how you get better, because like I say, at some point you’re gonna have to go down there. So we’re gonna watch the film and try to come up with a game plan that’s gonna put Newton in the position.