ATLANTA,Ga - The Newton Rams(4-1) get revenge on the road after defeating the Westlake Lions(2-3) in a 31-14 game that the Rams seemed to control for the duration of the contest.
The Rams were looking to avenge their 26-23 home loss from last season against the Lions, and they did just that in very dominant fashion.
In the first quarter, Rams running back Quincy Cullins had a long 40-yard run that set his team up in the Lions red zone. After a three-yard rushing attempt to end the first quarter, Cullins took the ball 20 yards to the endzone for the first score of the game.
Cullins was the man for the Rams as his 130 rushing yards and one touchdown on 20 attempts played a huge part in the Rams early lead. Cullins did an excellent job of making the first man miss and keeping tacklers on skates all night.
"He's the guy. He's the guy that is going to be our bell cow so to speak, and if he plays well, then we're going to have a chance to win," said Grant. "The way he's running right now, he's finding creases, he's hard to tackle, he's slippery, and so right now we want to ride him."
The Rams paired their formidable rushing attack with an even stronger defensive performance. They went into halftime having allowed 110 yards of total offense. They did an excellent job of filling the gaps and not giving the Lions any room to run.
They paired their excellent run defense with outstanding play rushing the passer. The opposing quarterback never had time to get comfortable with players like senior Javari Smith, senior Tyon Bigby and freshman Justin Benton breathing down his neck on every snap.
This continued on for the duration of the night and Bigby, Benton and Smith had two sacks each, accounting for all of the Rams six unofficial sacks as a team.
The Rams also recovered three fumbles in the ball game, and those turnovers kept the Lions from ever being able to get their offense rolling.
The Rams came with constant pressure and sometimes it was just a base four-man front that was getting in the backfield early and often. The pressure was a source of pride for coach Grant, and their play ultimately led to this crucial road victory.
"They've been playing well, but tonight was a challenge because at the beginning of the game they hit us with a couple of big counters and had some big runs, but those guys settled down," said Grant. "They pushed the pocket all night; they didn't give the quarterback a lot of lanes to run in, so they did an excellent job."
The Lions seemed to find a groove late in the game with their passing attack, but it was far too late to mount a comeback. They added a score through on the ground with 48 seconds in the third quarter and one through the air in the fourth quarter.
The Lions showed that they had what it takes on offense to put points on the board, but Newton's constant pressure was too much to overcome.
Jerrol Hines added on a three-yard touchdown run in the second half to give the Rams a 14-point lead. That was quickly followed by a three-yard touchdown run from new Marshall commit and senior running back Josh Hardeman.
The passing attack struggled for most of the night, but Neal Howard did connect with tight end Javari Smith on a long 49-yard touchdown pass that was helped by an excellent block from wide receiver Diondre Glover Jr.
With 2:08 left to play, The Rams padded their lead with a 28-yard field goal from Abdiel Velasquez.
This was a strong performance for the Rams, and with region play gearing up they should be able to ride the momentum from this strong performance.
The Rams will go on the road next Friday night to take on the South Gwinnett Comets and will hope to start region play strong.