The Rams knew what they had to do over the next two weeks if they were going to make the state playoffs - win one or both games. Apparently Stephenson's Mike Davis didn't really care.
Davis led a powerful Stephenson rushing attack with 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the Jaguars rolled to a 34-6 win. The loss seriously hampers Newton's playoff hopes. The Rams fell to 0-3 in Region 2-AAAAA, three games arrear the leaders with M.L. King on the horizon.
"We don't think we're out it this thing yet," Newton head coach Cortez Allen said. "We knew we had to win one of these two games. Know we'll have to go down to King and take care of business next week."
The Rams appeared ready to pull off the upset at the beginning of the game when Aaron Pierce took the opening kickoff down to the Stephenson 32-yard line. Newton quickly picked up a first down at the 20-yard line but the momentum the Rams had quickly built faded in an instant when Gmatreian Brown.
"We try to come out and be fast out of the gate and we got that accomplished but then we hit a stumbling block and there we went," Allen said. "We had a good gameplan and we knew what to expect. They didn't do anything different than we thought. We made mistakes and they didn't. They were just better than us tonight all the way around."
After Newton's defense held following the turnover, Javonte Williams broke a 15-yard run up the middle to give the Rams their second first down on the ensuing drive. The drive stalled and Newton was forced to punt. Things only got worse for the Rams from there.
On the first snap of Stephenson's ensuing drive, Davis showed why he's a University of Florida committee when he broke through Newton's line and took it 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Jaguars up 6-0 after they missed the extra point.
Zach Sullivan had a 38-yard field goal blocked early in the second quarter after the Rams best drive in the opening half but the defense managed to keep the Jaguars at bay.
Stephenson again made the big play, this time on defense when Kyle Fleetwood jumped Brown's pass at the 48-yard line and took it the other way for a score.
Newton's woes continued. Brown fumbled on the Rams next possession and the Jaguars took advantage. Justin Holman found a wide open Josh Parris for a 24-yard touchdown strike and Stephenson led 20-0 with 3:20 to play in the half. Parris made a nifty one-handed catch on the play.
The Rams never could get on track. They turned it over five times including on a fumble just three plays after they'd recovered a Stephenson fumble. The Jaguars won the turnover battle 5-1.
Despite the rough night, Pierce broke out to have his best game. Along with the early kickoff return, he caught the Rams only touchdown pass and led the Rams in receiving on the night.
"He's (Pierce) been working hard and has done a great job. This was a game he was able to put it all together," Allen said. "He's been running great routes and had been having a little trouble catching the ball but he put that all behind him and came to play tonight. I'm extremely proud of him."
We look at it like, we compete against these teams every year and we'll continue to compete," Allen said. "We don't feel like we're out of it. We feel like we have a good ball team we just have to put things together. I saw some great things out of some seniors - out of Tyrique Brown, so we have some positives to pull from this game. We just have to correct the things we didn't do well."