If recent performance means anything, Newton’s football team is in trouble this week. But head coach Nick Collins has one thing going for him. His team doesn’t dwell on the past.
"I think one of the positives about this team is that they have a short memory in regards to the previous games," he said. "It was low point for us, but we let it go and immediately turned our attention to Greenbrier."
With that attention focused solely on Greenbrier and not on last week’s ugly loss to M.L. King, the Rams hope to move to 2-2 in Region 2-AAAAA play when they travel to Evans to take on the Wolfpack tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Big plays have killed the Rams. Stephenson returned two punts for touchdowns against Newton two weeks ago and M.L. King returned an interception for a touchdown in last week’s loss. Fortunately, Newton has some big play makers of its own and the Rams get one of them back this week in Akeem Hunt.
"We cannot give up the big play. One way for a team in their situation to get confidence is to give up big plays and we cannot afford that," Collins said. "We are still without Brandon Boyd and Michael Morgan and that’s going to hurt us up front, but we are getting Bart Lindsey, Akeem [Hunt] and Devario Parker back and that will give us more options in the skill area."
After wining two of his first three starts, quarterback Demetrius has struggled a bit lately. Collins has relied on the running game but he knows passing is an integral part of any successful team’s game plan and at some point; the Rams will have to open it up through the air.
"We need to continue to establish our running game and this week we have to be more efficient in the passing game because we are going to have to throw the ball in order to beat anyone left on our schedule," Collins said. "We have to get Tyree Williams involved because he has not seen much action lately at quarterback and he is only one snap away from being the starter and I think with him at quarterback it gives another option in the passing game."
Like many high school football programs, special teams, in particular the kicking game, has been an area of concern for Collins and his staff. He said for his team to win from week to week, they will have to shore up the little things.
"We have to win the kicking game battle, last week we had far too many mistakes in the kicking game and we have to be more solid in that area," he said.
Greenbrier has had a similar season to date. With a 1-4 region record, the Wolfpack have been susceptible to the big play and mental breakdowns. That aside, Collins isn’t overlooking the Wolfpack. Instead he said the Rams are just hungry to get back out on the field and move on from last week.
"As I have stated every week, we expect to win and our approach has been to provide our guys with ways and means for how we are going to get it done," he said. "The good thing about football is you have only one day to celebrate or be down after a game, because it’s on to the next one and our kids know when it’s time to refocus."
Newton (2-4) at Greenbrier (1-5)
7:30 p.m., Wolfpack Stadium
Coaches: Newton, Nick Collins; Greenbrier, Brian Smith
Records: Newton (2-4, 1-2 Region 2-AAAAA); Greenbrier (1-5, 0-3)
Last week: MLK defeated Newton 56-0, Luella defeated Greenbrier 42-7
Prediction: NEWTON, The Rams have had an up and down season. Head coach Nick Collins said his team has forgotten about last week's debacle and that's a good thing. The Rams will need to focus on shutting down the big play. The offense must control the game. As long as the Wolfpack doesn't run loose on punt coverage, the Rams should be okay. Newton wins this one by 10.