COVINGTON - Newton's wrestling team is hoping to fly under the radar as it heads into the Class AAAAA team duals today at the Macon Centreplex.
"That one team you don't suspect that can do anything is the team that can come back and surprise everyone who's there. We have what it takes to be that team," Newton head coach Chris Andrews said. "Every team is beatable; every team has their day. We'll go out there and give it our all."
The Rams start their quest for the title against a good but beatable Hiram squad at 9:10 a.m.
"They are a good team. They have a lot of good kids, a lot of good wrestlers. What it comes down to is how well our kids wrestle and how much they want it," Andrews said. "If they want it, we'll beat them. If they don't have their full heart in it, it won't work. Hopefully, we'll do fairly well with them."
If the Rams get past the first round, they will need to wrestle mistake-free matches in the quarterfinals. Newton will battle either Forsyth Central or No. 3-ranked Harrison.
"If you look at how we wrestle on the days we really want it, we do outstanding. On the days we're really lax, they're not," Andrews said. "If they really want it, we can make it to the semis. It's up to them. It really depends on the kids. We can just push them so hard."
Andrews is counting on his team leaders - Corey Ware, Joey Joseph and Danny Mendoza - to have a big influence on his squad in Mackon.
Beside's Ware, who wrestles at 119 pounds, Mendoza (135) and Joseph (140), the Rams will also need Carl Collins (125), Aaron Reynolds (130) and Rick Moore (171) to play major roles.
While wrestling in the championship finals is the ultimate goal for all 16 teams, Andrews knows that the most important match is the first one and then each match one at a time.
"If we make it past Hiram, we'll do good. We're going to take it one step at time. We're not trying to get too excited or too cocky on anything," Andrews said. "We're just going to take it one match at a time and see how it goes from there."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.