goal line to give the Wildcats a 14-7 lead.
Five plays later, Newton tried to fake a punt, but Hardeman was tackled short of the first down. Valdosta took over at the Rams’ 47, and on the first play, Alex Cason made a leaping catch along the Wildcats’ sideline for a 31yard gain. That set up a 35yard field goal by Goodson with 44.5 seconds left in the first half, which gave Valdosta a 17-7 lead at halftime.
Late in the third quarter, a Valdosta drive appeared to stall at the Newton 41, but the Rams were flagged for roughing the passer, which gave the Wildcats a first down at the 26. An eight-yard run by Tim McClain and a 16-yard run by Joseph moved the ball to the 3.
On third-and-goal from the 1-foot line, on the second play of the fourth quarter, McClain took the handoff and crossed the goal line, extending Valdosta’s lead to 24-7.
The Wildcats put the game away with an eightplay, 61-yard scoring drive on their next possession. McClain’s 31-yard run moved Valdosta to the Rams’ 13, and three plays later, Joseph ran the ball in from the 2-yard line for his third touchdown of the night, giving Valdosta a 31-7 lead with 6:07 left in the game.
“I thought we did some things really well,” Gillespie said. “It was really kind of along the lines of what we expected, as far as the football game went. We let the ball get out on us on that one touchdown, and that was disappointing, and we still had a couple of drops.
“But other than that, I thought we played a lot better. I really do... For the most part, we did some good things, we really did, and we were able to move the ball. And we were able to stop them.”
Newton returns home against Langston Hughes on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Newton wide receiver David Comer (24) runs the ball on a reverse during the Rams’ game against Valdosta on Friday, as Valdosta defensive end Elijah Thomas (97) chases after him.