The Newton Rams won their region opener, while grabbing their second win of the season, against the Alcovy Tigers on Friday night 17-14 at Sharp Stadium, spoiling the Tigers’ hopes of obtaining the Newton Cup.
Both teams played hard in a down-to-the-wire rivalry contest, but in the end, it was Newton that made the game-changing plays with the game on the line.
Alcovy had a chance to tie the contest with a late field goal, but the Tigers’ comeback bid fell short in the fourth quarter.
It didn’t start off well for Newton (2-3, 1-0).
The Rams took an early jab to the face on the first play of the game.
Newton kicked the ball off and Alcovy’s Kenyon Kelly took the kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead before the offense even took the field.
Alcovy (4-2, 1-1) continued to ride its early momentum. After a quick three-and-out by Newton, Alcovy’s Jared Farley added to the Tigers’ lead with 26-yard run for a touchdown, eliciting a thunderous roar from the Alcovy faithful.
Newton finally settled into the game late into the second quarter.
After the Rams converted a 23-yard field goal, Newton finally crossed the goaline before the half. Newton quarterback Romario Johnson had three carries during the Rams’ scoring drive for 21 yards, capping off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
“We just stuck with the game plan,” Johnson said. “Coach told us to just be us, and we did.”
Newton took the lead on the first play of scrimmage in the second half. Johnson connected with receiver Davonta Jones for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
The touchdown pass was all the Rams needed in the second half, as their defense shut the Tigers out over the final 24 minutes to clinch the region win.
Alcovy quarterback Tristen Payne completed just one pass in the second half, and Alcovy wideout Jaylin Penny was blanked by the Rams’ secondary.
“He’s (Penny) a great receiver,” Newton defensive back Steven Montac said. “My coaches trusted me enough to guard him the whole game, and I made them proud.”
Alcovy had a chance to win at the end of the fourth quarter, setting itself up with a comeback bid on a solid punt return from Kenyon Kelly. Kelly’s return set the Tigers up in the red zone with under two minutes to play, but Alcovy missed the game-tying field goal.
“We are 0-0,” Newton coach Terrance Banks said. “One game at a time, one quarter at a time and one play at a time.”
Newton returns to action against region foe Druid Hills at Sharp Stadium next Friday. The Rams are 2-2-1 all time against the Red Devils.
The Tigers have a bye week before facing Morrow on Oct. 17. Alcovy defeated Morrow 30-13 last season at home for their third win of the season.