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Rams fall to Newnan 21-7 for first loss
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Newton's bid to take down Newnan and open the season 4-0 for a second straight season never really got going Saturday. Poor field position, penalties and three turnovers sunk the Rams and it was the Cougars who avenged last year's stunning loss with a 21-7 win.

Ram quarterback Gmatreian Brown threw three interceptions, the first coming on Newton's opening drive for a Cougar touchdown and Newnan held Javonte Williams and the Rams' running game in check. Newton was held under 200 yards of total offense for the game.

Newnan set the tone early when linebacker Nick Cameron picked off Brown's swing pass at the line of scrimmage and took it in for a touchdown with 8:30 left in the opening quarter.

"That's a thing that's sort of been throwing us off for a while now — getting off to slow starts," Newton coach Cortez Allen said. "The screen pass is a play we like. I think we just go a little lackadaisical with our read, our look and just kind of let it go thinking they gave it to us. He (Cameron) sat there in the flat and made a good play. Good play by them – poor play by us and that's really what it came down to."

After Newton went three-and-out, the Cougars struck again. Bryant Ball capped a 10-play, 54-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 with 3:06 to go in the quarter.


That's as good as it would get for Newton's offense. Penalties and a lack of field position hampered the Rams throughout the rest of the game and the defense struggled to get off the field on third downs even though it only gave up one more touchdown.

"We had too many third-and-long situations on offense and went three-and-out way to many times and put the defense back on the field," Allen said. "On defense, we didn't help ourselves there. We get to fourth down and we get penalties on silly mistakes and undisciplined calls. It's the early part of our region schedule and we have to get those things fixed if we are going to be successful."

Nick Smith hooked up with Cody Darracott for a 6-yard touchdown pass on Newnan's first possession of the fourth quarter to make it 21-7 with 9:12 left in the game but the Rams finally came up with a turnover on defense on the Cougars' next possession.

Looking to mount a late-game comeback for the second straight year, Brown hooked up with Hawkins again for a 30-yard gain to move the Rams into Newnan territory. Brown was picked off two plays later at the 1-yard line.

"It just came down to them making plays and us not," Allen said. "They caught balls and we didn't. They made plays in critical situations and we couldn't. We looked at this game as one we had to get. We felt like we could beat this team. If you don't take care of these games early, you get to the end of the season and look at what you could have, would have done."

The Rams travel to East Coweta Friday looking for their first win.

Newton responded with an impressive drive of its own on its next possession. Brown rebounded from the interception to complete six passes and led the Rams 92 yards in 11 plays to make it a 14-7 game with 11:15 to go in the half. Brown converted three third downs through the air including two of eight yards or longer then capped the drive with a 15-yard pass to Taylor Hawkins.