Eastside wins, will open playoffs at home
Newton ended its 2010 season on a high note with a 28-20 win over Luella Friday. The win made it backto-back wining seasons for the Rams. That's the good news. The bad of course is they'll be sitting at home next week when the state playoffs begin. What might have been?
You don't need to look any further than the fourgame skid Newton endured from Oct. 1 through Oct. 22. The Rams (6-4, 3-4 Region 2-AAAAA) fell to East Coweta, Stephenson and M.L. King in succession before inexplicably dropping a road game to Westlake. It was that loss that knocked Newton out of the postseason. And that was with two games to play. Having to play the rest of the season with nothing on the line didn't affect the Rams. They won both games. Which begs the question — was it the pressure that got to them? What happened?
If it was pressure, it came on the trip to Westlake. While the losses to Stephenson and M.L. King are understandable — the Rams have struggled as has pretty much every 2-AAAAA opponent to those two teams, the losses to East Coweta and especially Westlake were games the Rams could have and should have won. Granted, East Coweta essentially cancelled out the loss of Union Grove which dropped down to Class AAAA this year. But Westlake wasn't very good. What did we learn?
Newton came into the 2010 with a ton of confidence. After wining four straight to open the season including the stirring victory at Newnan, that confidence skyrocketed. But once the Rams had to play those same two teams that have always been atop the region, things normalized. In the end, Newton wasn't much better than it was a year ago. In fact, it could be argued
they were better last year. The future
The Rams will look a lot different next year. Akeem Hunt, Tyree Williams, Chris Dickerson and more than 20 players will be gone to graduation. When Nick Collins started things four years ago, it was with the thought that if they played a lot of freshman that first year, they'd be primed to make a run as seniors. The plan sort of fell apart somewhere along the way and now Cortez Allen gets his shot at seeing what he can do. Coaching changes here and there may not be a bad idea too. But Allen's future as a head coach is bright. Newton is in good hands.
Left to ponder: Newton quarterback Tyree Williams saw his senior season unravel with a four-game losing streak that knocked the Rams out of the playoffs in October.