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Rams shut out by Lowndes
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VALDOSTA - Newton traveled down I-75 to Lowndes County, where its offense struggled and its defense held on as long as it could.

The Lowndes Vikings defeated Newton 31-0 at Martin Stadium Friday night, improving their record to 34-5 in the month of September since coach Randy McPherson took over one of the state's most dominating programs in 2002.

"We are pleased," McPherson said. "We have good kids that play hard. Newton, I tell you, they played hard. They never quit."

The Vikings racked up 268 yards of offense, while Newton managed just 72 yards, with only nine coming in the second half.

The shutout victory is Lowndes' third in the last five games, dating back to last season's regular season finale against Tift County.

The Vikings overpowered the Rams on both sides of the ball, surging ahead for large chunks of yards on offense and smashing into the backfield and disrupting the Rams' offense all night long.

Sophomore Ahman Brown led the Vikings on the ground with 55 yards on seven carries and a pair of third quarter touchdowns. Brown also scored a touchdown in the junior varsity game Thursday night against Colquitt County, thus making him only eligible to play the second half of Friday's varsity contest
Regardless, Brown made his carries count against the Rams.

"It's the offensive line, they are working real hard in front of me, opening up holes and making it happen," Brown said. "We run a fast-paced offense, so when you put some fresh players in, we are going to do our thing."

Nick Burgman gained 38 yards and two first quarter touchdowns, while Tevin Brown added 44 yards on 10 carries. Senior quarterback Alex Stephenson had his best showing in a Vikings' uniform, completing 8 of 13 passes for 87 yards.

"It was a good win," McPherson said.

While the offense managed 31 points, the real story of the night was the Rams being limited by the Vikings' defense.

In Newton's 10 offensive drives on the night, the Vikings forced the Rams off the field in less than five plays on eight occasions (two that ended with fumbles), including five three-and-outs and one two-and-out, which ended when Kenny Moore intercepted a deep pass down the visitors' sideline.

"We are coming together on defense," McPherson said. "I (said) early on, we are a little bit small, but we have a lot of speed. They are getting tough - they like each other. We just have to keep improving each day."

The Vikings took advantage of excellent field position inside Newton territory on its first three possessions of the game to take a 14-0 first quarter lead.

After a 60-yard kickoff return by Tiquan Lang to open the game, the Vikings needed just five plays to go 18 yards to open the game's scoring, coming on a 5-yard touchdown run by Burgman.

After a fumble by Newton, which was recovered by Lang, the Vikings used a quick eight-play drive to go 28 yards and take a 14-0 lead, using another 5-yard run by Burgman to cap the drive with a score.

Lowndes' third drive to start in Newton territory came to a halt when Brian Bell coughed up the ball at the Ram 24.
The Vikings closed the first half scoring with a 39-yard field by Gustavo Gonzales as time expired in the half, capping off the night's longest drive of the night - 17 plays for 56 yards and taking over five minutes off the clock.

Despite the first half success, the Vikings had their share of miscues, too. After holding the Rams to a punt on their third possession, Burgman muffed a punt, giving Newton possession of the ball at the Lowndes 33.
Four plays later, Nick White recovered a fumble for Lowndes, setting up the Vikings' final drive of the first half.

In the second half, the Vikings dominated the Rams, holding them to just nine yards of total offense. Three of Newton's six drives in the second half were three-and-outs, with another drive ending in two plays on Moore's interception.

Offensively, the Vikings continued to control the clock, pounding away at the Newton defense with the fresh legs of Ahman Brown.

Brown opened the third quarter scoring with a 1-yard run that capped off a seven-play, 28-yard drive for the Vikings. His touchdown run gave the Vikings a 24-0 lead.

After a Newton three-and-out, the Vikings once again started in Ram territory. Just like the previous drive, Brown carried Lowndes into the end zone, scoring on a 33-yard touchdown run that closed out a quick two-play, 50-yard drive.

Lowndes' only drive of the fourth quarter ended with a Burgman fumble on fourth down. Burgman was stripped of the ball on his way to the ground. He would not have gained enough yardage for the first down.

Newton has Friday off before traveling back down to Lowndes County to face Valdosta.