EVANS — If any team needed a win, it was the Newton Rams who traveled to Evans to take on the Greenbrier Wolfpack Friday. And win they did.
The Rams (3-4 overall, 2-2 in Region 2-AAAAA) left the Wolfpack’s den with a 28-14 victory evening to stay in the picture for a playoff spot in the region.
Things didn’t start well for the Rams when Greenbrier came out on its opening kickoff to successfully execute a perfect onside kick that it recovered at its own 40-yard line.
Newton seemed stunned as the Wolfpack drove down field for their first score on a 13-yard strike from quarterback Blake Ross to wide receiver T.D. Davis. Tyler Griffin’s PAT was good giving Greenbrier a 7-0 lead with four minutes gone off the clock.
Actually, that could have been the worst thing the Wolfpack could have done. The opening drive seemed to have awakened the Rams’ defense.
It was down hill from there for Greenbrier’s offense as the Rams held them to just 11 yards for the remainder of the first period.Meanwhile, the Rams’ offense went to work with the resurgence of D.J. Hill supplying the ground power on the rainy night in Georgia.
Hill gained just as many yards as the entire Wolfpack offense in the first period of play, tallying 53 yards including an 11-yard touchdown burst up the middle of the Greenbrier defense to put his team on the board. Demetrius McCray went into the end zone from three yards out to convert the two-point play and give the Rams an 8-7 lead with 11.6 seconds left in the period.
The Ram defense, led by tackle Brian Forde, defensive backs Bart Lindsey and McCray, along with line backer Quinton Pooler, kept Greenbrier off the board as the Rams went to the locker room at the half with a shaky lead, 1-point lead.
"I thought we were flat in the first half and didn’t do the things we should have," said Newton coach Nick Collins, "but we answered the challenge in the second half and we really stepped up."
Newton opened the second half from midfield and went the distance. Hill capped off the drive with a 3-yard plunge up the middle and after the PAT attempt went wide right, the Rams led 14-7 at the 6:17 mark of the third period.
The Rams kept the Wolfpack backed up in their own territory and forced the home team to punt on three consecutive possessions.
The Rams’ offense continued its assault on the Wolfpack’s defense with Akeem Hunt, Fred Smith and Hill providing the ground pounding. The three backs drove the Rams 70 yards from their 29-yard line and Pooler capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to give the Rams a 21-7 lead with 1:40 left in the period.
Newton scored one more time on a 26-yard pas play from McCray to Lindsey and Newton took a 28-7 lead with 1:10 left to play in the game.
Greenbrier scored in the final seconds of the game on a 75-yard drive with Ross connecting on a 25-yard pass to Ben Turner. The Wolfpack moved the ball down to the Newton 1-yard line with 15 seconds remaining before Turner went across the goal line. The PAT was good and Newton’s lead diminished 28-14 as time ran out.
With the win, the Rams headed back on Interstate 20 west with a much-needed region victory.
The Rams’ offense chalked up 232 yards while their defense held the Wolfpack offense to 165. Hill had 73 yards on nine carries to lead the Rams rushers.
"I thought that the way Akeem [Hunt], D.J. [Hill], Demetrius [McCray] and Quinton [Pooler] ran the football was indicative of where we’ve got to go if we want to play for a playoff spot," Collins said.
"It feels good to get this one," added Hunt. "We’re going into week eight and we needed this one baby."