“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.”