East­side wins, will open play­offs at home

The Covington News - - Front Page - Josh Briggs Sports Edi­tor

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.

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

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.

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