Newton's season finale a matchup against a similar Luella

COVINGTON - Newton's game at Luella on Friday could be like playing a clone of itself.

Like the Rams, the Lions play a basic style offense and defense and then add to their game depending on the opponent.

"Our rule is simple, if they give you this look you do this; if they give you this look, you're in that. If they give you this formation you're in this coverage, if they give you this formation you're in that coverage and that's how you solve a lot of what we do," Newton coach Nick Collins said.

"You go back to your basic rules and let the rules apply. Playing them this week is probably the simplest game plan we've had all year."

But no matter what formation or look the Lions are presenting, Newton is going to have find a way to stop the running game.

If the Rams can force Luella to put the ball in the air, Collins feels that his secondary can win the game.

"The teams that have beat them have made them one dimensional," Collins said. "If we can force them into throwing it I feel pretty good about what we do as far as that's concerned."

Like Newton, Luella does not have a go-to player. The Lions prefer to spread the ball around from the backfield and tight ends to their wide outs.

"There isn't one particular person that you have to stop. They remind me a lot of us in that we're going to use. It's almost like they use everyone in uniform.

"We had some issues last week and they run the ball well, or try to anyway. I think we'll see that and they'll try to throw the ball deep. They're going to the things that are necessary and the two things we've struggled with lately are teams running the ball right at us and teams throwing the ball deep," Collins said.

Offensively, the Rams must protect the ball and the offensive line has to give the backfield the chance to get the ball past the line of scrimmage.

By establishing a successful running game it will provide the Rams the chance to reach two of their offensive objectives.

One, it will run time off the clock thus limiting Luella's chances of scoring. And two, it will open up the passing game to the point where they will be able to throw it because they want to rather then because the have to.

"I don't expect to throw the football 21 times like we did last week, but I can foresee us throwing it 10 to 15 times," Collins said. "But they've got to be smart selective times and we've got to be good at it."

Making Newton's decision as to when to throw and when to pass could depend on the defense Luella throws at them.

"Defensively, they're a 3-5-3 team. But if they have to go 5-3, they'll go 5-3. If they have to go 6-2, they'll go 6-2. They'll do all the things that are necessary to win," Collins said.

While a victory is important in most games, it is imperative for both teams in this game.

Basically, a win means a chance to compete in the Class AAAAA playoffs while a loss means the end of the season.

A win by Newton and a loss by Douglass, who is playing Stephenson, a team competing for the Region 2-AAAAA championship, puts Newton at the fourth slot in the region.

"We're taking the approach this week that we're not talking playoffs, we're not talking if you win or when you win. We're talking about let's do the best we can, prepare the best we can and let's go out and win a football game," Collins said. "If we win the football game then we can address whatever needs to come after that."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: Newton at Luella

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Luella High School

Records: Newton Rams (3-6, 2-4); Luella Lions (6-3, 3-3)

Last week: Newton lost to Union Grove 43-10; Luella beat Douglass 25-14

Last meeting: 2007 Luella won 35-14

Series: Luella leads 2-0