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Smith: A fresh start
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A new season is rolling in, and that means a fresh start as our fall sports end and our winter sports begin.

One thing I have always enjoyed about covering sports is that your schedule is never stale. In three month's time, whatever you're covering is going to change, whether you want it to or not.

Before I get into our winter sports, I want to thank all the coaches I had the pleasure to meet this fall during football, softball and volleyball season.

Newton County athletics have seen considerable success this autumn, including a region championship in softball and a home playoff contest in football.

Coach Russell Brock and the Alcovy Tigers varsity softball team completed another perfect region run in Region 2-AAAAAA, capturing their second consecutive region title, while the Newton Rams also gave fans a chance to see playoff action last week at Sharp Stadium.

While both teams' postseason hopes fell short, it was great to get to see our teams compete in the postseason and test themselves against some of the best competition in the state.

I also had the opportunity to see growth out of our programs this fall, especially in the development of the Newton softball program and the Eastside football program.

Early in the season, the Rams' varsity softball team looked listless and unprepared, but, by the end of the season, the Rams were well put together and an exciting team to watch.

The Eagles fought off injury after injury, but still set themselves up late in the regular season for a chance at a playoff bid with a heap of young players. The Eagles' coaches should be commended for facing their challenges head on and never quitting.

Seeing the development of players and programs is one of the best parts of this job.

Now, as action from the fall winds down, Newton County fans get a fresh start as we transition into the winter sports season.

Basketball in this county should be excellent this year; the Lady Rams already have many opponents terrified, the Lady Tigers start their bid for a second consecutive region title and the Lady Eagles bring back much of their core from a playoff team last season.

On the boys' side, Alcovy will play its first season under first-year head coach Jabari Levi, Eastside looks to reach the postseason again for the third time under coach Gregory Freeman, and the Rams seem as prepared as ever under coach Rick Rasmussen to grab what would be the third region crown during his long tenure at Newton.

It's only fitting that the Rams and Tigers
opened Newton's new gym last night, starting off the season with a rivalry bang.

This winter, I think success will continue as a staple of our county's programs. It's not a bad problem to have.

Every fresh start brings new opportunities. It's up to the Tigers, Rams and Eagles to fulfill theirs.

Matt Smith is the sports editor at the Covington News and can be reached at or 770-728-1413.