NEW­TON

The Covington News - - SPORTS & LIVING -

“It’s a re­ally big im­pact they all make,” Mid­dle­brooks said. “The op­po­nent never knows what to ex­pect from each run­ning back. They all bring dif­fer­ent things that add punch to our run­ning game, and our block­ing as well.”

Mid­dle­brooks said the key to the Rams’ Thurs­day night dom­i­nance was not just that they played a strug­gling Shiloh team, but more that the fo­cus was right where it needed to be at this time of the year — on the present and fu­ture, in­stead of the un­change­able past.

“You know, we re­ally just tried to for­get about those last two games and move for­ward,” Mid­dle­brooks said. “Def­i­nitely th­ese last two games are bounce back games for us. If we fin­ish them strong, we can fin­ish out our reg­u­lar sea­son and head into the post­sea­son with a high at­ti­tude.”

The Rams im­proved to 5-3-1 and 2-2 in Re­gion 8-AAAAAAA ahead of next Fri­day’s ri­valry game with Rock­dale — one that, de­spite the Bull­dogs 3-7 over­all record and 0-4 re­gion mark, Banks said can­not be over­looked. With a win against Rock­dale and an Archer loss to Shiloh and a South Gwin­nett loss to No. 3 Grayson next week, New­ton could slide into third place in the re­gion.

New­ton leads the all-time se­ries 2618-3, and de­feated Rock­dale last year 42-0. But in the two games prior to that one, the Bull­dogs made it tough. New­ton squeaked out a 29-26 win over Rock­dale in 2014, and lost 28-21 in over­time back in 2013.

“Rock­dale is a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal, though,” Banks said. “It’s a ri­valry game, and ev­ery time we play Rock­dale, it seems to go down to the wire. So we’re fo­cused on Rock­dale. They didn’t play this week, so we know they’re get­ting ready for us. We al­ready know what this kind of game means.”

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