Hum­ble and hun­gry

New­ton’s path to suc­cess be­gan in Jan­uary

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHA­KEEM HOL­LOWAY news@cov­

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

Sha­keem Hol­loway / The Cov­ing­ton News

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.

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