Humble and hungry
Newton’s path to success began in January
Barely leading with minutes left in the game, a Newton turnover gave the ball and a chance to take a commanding lead back to Etowah. Again and again Etowah lined up and ran through Newton, eventually scoring two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game, advancing to the final four and sending Newton packing.
It was way too easy. Newton was weak at the point of attack on the defensive line, and the Rams got killed in the trenches. Coming back from that game, Newton head football coach Terrance Banks didn’t have to show his team why the weight room was important. What Banks did do was show them film from the Etowah game.
“When we look at where we were , we look at how we lost to Etowah and we look at what made the difference, it wasn't the things that week that hurt us. We felt like there were things we could’ve did better January to August that would’ve made a difference,” Banks said.
Since the first day of January, the Rams have been hard at work in the weight room. They’ve also been to weight room competitions where Banks says his focus was to show them the gap between them and other schools.
“They were able to see schools like Milton and Coffee and how strong they were and that just kept that fuel to the fire lit,” Banks said.
A budding desire to get stronger hasn’t stopped this summer. Banks says they’re averaging about 70 kids in the weight room. They’ve also been to a number of seven-on-sevens, winning some along the way.
With their success Banks has a new mantra, “Every day we try to go 1-0. That’s our goal.”
Having won some of the seven-on-sevens, Banks added that it really boosts morale for the team, but he also acknowledge they have a long way to go before the season begins.
“It makes the kids feel good,” Banks said. “Anytime you win anything it’s that competitive spirit, you gotta wanna do it. If you don’t wanna compete you’re not playing the right sport. I think anytime the boys can go and compete that’s very important to them and of course winning is what you want to do anytime you do anything.”
The Rams have some notable play- ers who have caught fire in the summer earning a lot of interest from colleges such as senior receiver/defensive back Deandre Huff, junior running back Kurt Taylor Jr. and especially junior defensive end Jaquan Henderson.
“Great kid,” Banks said enthusiastically about Henderson. “Great family background, everybody knows that. The good thing about him – about all of our kids – they’re humble. It’s not going to their heads. Being four-star, winning MVP camps, none of that’s going to his head. He’s still the same kid as he was last year. All he talks about is he wanna sack the quarterback. He’s very ambitious. He said 13 sacks wasn’t enough last year. He’s gotta have 20, he gotta
Rams quarterback Romario Johnson hands off the ball to Kurt Taylor Jr. BELOW: Terrance Banks and his team convenes on the sidelines during a timeout.