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VIDEO | PREP FOOTBALL: Five things learned from Newton vs. Alcovy
Also, watch our Coach's Wrap-Up and highlight video with Coach Banks
Newton Rams
The Newton Rams burst out of the team banner for the first time in 2018. - photo by Anthony Banks

Postgame show with Newton coach Terrance Banks

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Every football game takes the sportswriters of The Covington News to school, and though we’ve still got a lot to learn about Newton and Alcovy, Friday night’s season opening rivalry renewal game taught us a bunch. 

1. Alcovy’s still got plenty of room to grow. We’ve seen them look more the part from the trenches on offense to the back seven defensively. Make no mistake. Alcovy’s bigger, faster and stronger than they’ve been in recent memory, and particularly since coach Chris Edgar took the program’s reins. Edgar has said several times that he likes to use games against teams like Newton as a measuring stick. And after the Rams’ 37-3 pasting of the Tigers, the measuring stick shows Alcovy’s still coming up a bit short of competing with the likes of Newton. The first quarter wasn’t bad, and there were moments where it looked like Alcovy was standing up to Newton pretty solidly, but several miscues offensively in potential scoring situations seemed to suck copious amounts of momentum away. By late second quarter, and certainly into the third, Newton was imposing its will on Alcovy and the Tigers had no answer. 

Newton's Jerrol Hines finds the corner on Alcovy's defense. - photo by Anthony Banks

2. Newton’s just a solid team. Solid. Perhaps more than solid. Some will continue to say the Rams aren’t an eye-poppingly spectacular bunch. But you don’t have to be eye-poppingly spectacular to be a winner. The Rams have speed, just enough size and plenty of big-play ability littered across the field. And, though there were mistakes — there will always be mistakes in a game, particularly the first of the season — at least on Friday, Newton looked liked a well-disciplined team. The defense is smaller than last year’s, but maybe a touch nastier — at least it looked that way on Friday night. And as we’ve been saying through much of the offseason, this team just looks cohesive. They play like they get along on and off the field. Will that be enough to beat the Bufords, Graysons and Archers of the world? It remains to be seen. But I’m starting to come to the place where I won’t put anything past this particular Rams bunch. 

3. Alcovy has some next-level potential. Namely in a certain defensive lineman named Jalen Banks. His growth from junior year to, at least the first game of his senior year, has been phenomenal to watch. Banks penetrated Newton’s offensive backfield with some regularity, as he registered several tackles for losses, had a quarterback sack and scooped up two fumbles — the first one he almost took to the house. Although Banks has gotten some solid scholarship offers already, with the type of talent he’ll be playing against over the next several weeks, the 6-foot, 220-pound prospect has a chance to really see his stock rise. Also, don’t sleep on Logan Wyatt. He flew around from his linebacker spot, and as a junior, looks ready to take a gigantic next step in his development.

Natorian Holloway
Alcovy tailback NaTorien Holloway looks to be a significant factor for his team this season, but his story is one that's still a mystery. - photo by Anthony Banks

4. Mike Mathison is a bonafide game-breaker. Listen. The kid is just flat out fun to watch. As coach Terrance Banks says, Mathison isn’t a talker. In fact, he seems to shy away from the limelight. But the limelight finds him because he’s just that good. His 85-yard kickoff return to start the game electrified the crowd, but also was a pace setter for the way Newton attacked the rest of the game. He’s the kind of player who you expect will do something crazy-good each time he touches the ball. 

Newton's Diondre Glover (7) checks Alcovy receiver Javari Smith at the line. - photo by Anthony Banks

5. The QBs at Newton are just fine & Diondre Glover is a star. In his postgame talks, Banks revealed that he told Neal Howard and LT Stowers that they would both play Friday night, and that they would both receive a pretty even amount of the snaps. And neither quarterback disappointed. Howard threw a touchdown pass to Mathison in the first half, then had another one — a 92-yarder to Thomas on a Tim Tebow-esque jump pass that was called back due to a penalty. Stowers tossed a 27-yard scoring strike to Robert Lewis and made a couple other nice plays. Now here’s some irony about the QB position at Newton: Sophomore Diondre Glover was initially slated to be on that part of the depth chart. Instead, he’s starring as a defensive back and all-around playmaker on offense. 

Earlier in the game, he made an impressive open field tackle on Andrae Robinson on a screen pass that likely would’ve broke for big yardage if Glover doesn’t make the stop. He made plays as a pass catcher. And even when he’s not in on a tackle defensively, he’s somewhere near the action. In short, it looks like the quarterback position will be just fine with Glover playing elsewhere. And that’s not an insult to him. That kid is major.