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Rams debut under Banks
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Newton’s blue team beat the white team 30-27, but that’s not what Friday’s spring game at Newton High School was all about.

It was a time for young players to step up, players who have been paying their dues to cash in and Terrance Banks to show Rams’ faithful what he will bring as their new football coach.

“Spring was about learning all fundamentals and learning the way to do stuff,” Banks said.

Even though Newton won’t play its first game until September, the season for Banks and his team never stops, and begins in earnest June 3 when the Rams hit the weight room. Prior to that however, Banks has been implementing his spread-option offense during the two weeks of spring practices, and the players ran it in a game situation for the first time Friday.

“We’re a shotgun spread team; we take whatever the defense gives us,” Banks said. “I love to pass, but we want to run the ball and we want to be balanced.”

Passing or running, Banks knows the most important thing is to score points, and is looking at quarterbacks Kemani Pittman and Raymond Johnson to help in that endeavor, not yet knowing which one will start.

“We have a lot of seniors who can lead us, and also our two quarterbacks Kemani Pittman and Raymond Johnson, those are our underclassmen,” Banks said. “They’re in an intense battle for the quarterback spot and both of them are great leaders and great kids.”

Banks also has chosen the players he believes will be the leaders for the team headed into the season.

“The clear leaders for the team are Dezmon Billingslea, Corey Thomas, Robbie Wallace and Toyous Avery,” Banks said.

During the spring game, the Rams split the snaps at quarterback with last year’s starter Pittman and backup Johnson. Billingslea, Wallace, Avery and Thomas were mainly on the defensive side of the ball.

The Rams will run a 4-3 basic scheme defense.

“The defense is a simple four-man front. We just want to get after teams,” Banks said. “We preach pursuit game tackling, 11 bodies to the ball.”

Banks knows it is going to take some time but knows the team will start gelling the way it should.

“I’m excited about where we are headed,” Banks said. “Obviously, I’m the new coach, brand new coaching staff. It takes time to gel, but we’re getting there.”