With the County-Line Championship and the Region 2-AAAAAA Championship at stake, the Newton Rams (8-2,4-1 region 2-AAAAAA) took on region rival Rockdale County (2-8,1-4 region 2-AAAAAA) in the final regular season game. Newton dominated from the opening kickoff and pummeled Rockdale 42-0 to win the County-Line trophy and the region championship.
The Rams now have three wins in a row heading into the playoffs. With the win, the Rams clinch their first region championship since 1987.
The first kickoff of the game was fielded by junior Jeremiah Holloman who took the bouncing kick and returned it up the left side of the field. He broke two tackles before sprinting untouched down the sideline for an 80-yard kickoff return touchdown giving the Rams an early 8-0 after he also caught the 2-point conversion.
The Bulldogs received the kickoff starting at their own 12-yard line. They ran the ball three times for a first down, but it was followed by a one yard gain, an incomplete pass and a big five-yard sack by Rams’ senior Tony Collins II to force a punt.
On the Rams’ second drive they got a good return up to their own 49-yard line. Junior Kurt Taylor got the first carry for eight yards, followed by a 10-yard catch by Holloman for a first down.
With two more first downs the Rams got deep into the red zone. Taylor got the ball from the six-yard line and two plays later, he scored to give the rams a 14-0 lead after a missed extra point.
The Bulldogs got the ball back and started deep in their own territory. They went three-and-out, and the Rams looked to have good field position. On the punt attempt, the kick was botched and fumbled and the Rams got the ball to start on the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line.
A pass interference call on the Bulldogs moved the ball to the 12-yard line, but the Rams couldn’t take advantage and ended the possession with a turnover on downs. Rams’ senior Cameron Stringer was joined by other Rams in the Bulldogs’ backfield to force a punt. The Rams started the next drive at the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line, and senior Romario Johnson threw a dart to Holloman who used his speed again to score a touchdown. With 11:54 left in the second quarter, the Rams led 21-0.
The Rams were stout on defense as the Bulldogs couldn’t get any momentum and went three-and-out. The Rams started at the Bulldogs 46-yard line and senior Artice Hobbs had a 16-yard run and a 20-yard catch and run for a touchdown on the drive to make it 28-0 with 8:05 left in the half.
The Bulldogs got sacked twice on their next drive and went three-and-out again. Johnson was on a roll on the Rams’ next drive. He connected with senior Deandre Huff on a 22-yard catch and run and another nine-yard catch to get into Bulldogs’ territory.
Johnson was key again on the drive rushing for 18 yards on two carries. After getting inside the three-yard line, Taylor got the easy two-yard touchdown run to make the score 35-0 with 2:24 left in the half.
The game wasn’t over, but it felt like it for the Bulldogs although they gave a good effort. They fumbled and turned the ball over on their next drive, giving the ball right back to the Rams with another chance to score with about forty seconds left in the half.
The Rams couldn’t take advantage and got intercepted on the ensuing play, with the ball returned to the Rams’ 27-yard line. After an intentional grounding call, the Bulldogs connected on a 25-yard pass, but the clock ran to zero, and that was the half.
The Bulldogs started the ball at their own 24-yard line and connected on three passes for over 50 yards. Rams senior Quentin Dixon would end the drive when he intercepted a pass that was thrown high, and the Rams started their first drive of the half at their own 44.
Johnson ran for a first down and connected with Holloman for 20 yards before leaving the game. Sophomore Myron Middlebrooks took over at quarterback, and the Rams didn’t miss a beat. He had a 14-yard run to start and later on the drive had another 10-yard first down run. Hobbs finished the drive off with a two-yard rushing touchdown. The score was 42-0 with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw little offense from either team, and the Rams were victorious in a rout once again. Holloman was named the MVP for the Rams. This was the first region championship win since 1987 for the Rams, and their first round playoff game will be at home next week versus the East Coweta Indians on Friday 7:30 p.m.