It may have been the most hyped scrimmage in Newton county football history. There were no kickoffs, punt returns, or hits to the quarterbacks but it was football, and more importantly to the community it was Newton vs Eastside. For the first time in two years Newton was back on top and defeated the Eagles 36-23.
It is important to note that both teams did not play their starters the whole game. Newton only played their starters for one quarter while Eastside played their first-team for the first half. But both teams had some success from their starters, especially the Rams.
“It was good intensity and a chance to hit somebody else,” Newton head coach Terrance Banks said. “We have a lot of things to work on, but we’re happy we did the little things right.”
There were glimpses of greatness from the Rams first team offense, led by All-Area quarterback Romario Johnson and All-Region receiver Davonta Jones. They were able to connect on a seven-yard pass into the end zone for a touchdown, for the first points of the game.
“This year I want throw for more yards,” Johnson said. “Because we’ve got more explosive players I can get the ball to on offense.”
Newton’s starting offense was able to put up 16 points while on the field. On certain drives they looked sharp and were able to move the ball down the field consistently. There was some sloppy play as far penalties and dropped passes, but not too bad for the first game.
“As far as the offense, we did what the coaches ask us to do, and we made plays and we did good moving the ball forward,” Davonta Jones said.
Newton’s first-team defense made some great plays on the field, but also showed that they need work on some things as well. They did put some points on the board when Jeremiah Bundrage returned a fumble for a touchdown on Eastside’s third possession of the game.
“As a defense, the whole defense just jelled up,” defensive back Steven Montac said. “We’re really unstoppable now because we all on the same page and we’re just balling.”
The Eagles’ offense was no pushover. Eastside’s play on offense revealed weaknesses in Newton’s defensive line and also the secondary, which had a couple of missed assignments.
“We made some big plays, but we got some stuff we need to work on,” defensive back Donta Jones said. “But we’ll be better next week.”
Now the Eagles just didn’t get RAMmed over, they made some good plays on offense and defense with their starters in the game. Quarterback Austin Holloway had success connecting with receiver Josh Sims throughout the game, and eventually on a touchdown pass. The Eagles first-team offense put up 13 points while in action.
The Eagles defense did need some work as Newton was able to move the ball on them well. The Eagles defense is composed of players with no varsity experience especially in the secondary, with only one player with varsity experience.
“I want to make sure we’re improving every week,” Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. “When we go down to Westminster Thursday, we want to look better than we did today.”
Both teams did play with good effort and put on a great show for the community, and were able to get some positives from the first game of the season.
Newton starts its season next week at home Friday night against non-region opponent Berkmar High School. Eastside will be hitting the road on Thursday night for another scrimmage against Westminster High school before the Eagles open the season against Alcovy on August 29.