COVINGTON - Intimidation plays an integral role in football.
And whether it played a factor for Newton against M.L. King on Friday, the final score indicated it did.
The Lions (5-1) blasted their way past the Rams (2-4) on senior night 56-0 at Homer Sharp Stadium.
"I'm embarrassed," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "There's no other way to put it, I'm just embarrassed."
Four turnovers in the first half - three in the first quarter alone - eventually led to four M.L. King touchdowns by halftime.
"I knew coming in that's a darn good football team," Collins said. "I just expected our guys to do some things differently, and I'm just highly disappointed and embarrassed that they didn't do the things that I thought that they would do. I thought at this stage of the year that we were at a different place, and I'm really not sure at this point where we are."
After a blocked punt by Rahmon Swain, M.L. King set up on the Newton 19-yard line. Two plays later quarterback Cameron Myers hit receiver Corey Phillips for a 13-yard touchdown.
The PAT by Benjamin Walker gave the Lions a 7-0 lead with nine minutes and 44 seconds left in the first.
An onside kick gave the ball back to M.L. King; however, Demetrius McCray soon intercepted Myers at the Newton 7-yard line.
Several possessions later, a McCray interception by Chris Eruchula gave the ball back to the Lions.
It wasn't long before they tacked on another score, this time a 7-yard touchdown run by Mack Brown.
With the PAT, M.L. King led 14-0 with 2:47 remaining in the quarter.
The Lions increased their lead after a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown by Joel Kight.
After the PAT, M.L. King had built a 21-0 lead with 1:17 left.
"We were flat, (and) we just didn't play well," Collins said. "It wasn't that we just couldn't turn the corner; we couldn't throw it, we couldn't catch it, we couldn't tackle. All the fundamental things you're supposed to do to win football games we couldn't do them."
Another Newton interception, this time picked by Bryan Fennell, gave the ball back to M.L. King prior to the end of the first quarter.
Just 37 seconds into the second, the Lions were up 28-0 on a 16-yard touchdown burst by Eruchula.
M.L. King scored on its next possession by way of an 8-yard touchdown pass from Myers to Joshua McClure.
With 4:19 until halftime, the Lions were ahead 35-0.
M.L. King added another touchdown 1:19 later after an 8-yard dash by Brown. It was set up by a 43-yard interception return by Rodney Cofield.
Though trailing 42-0 at halftime, Newton limited M.L. King to just 139 yards compared to 84 for the Rams.
With the running clock rule in effect, Newton continued to struggle in the second half. The Rams only had 13 yards in the final two quarters.
On M.L. King's second possession of the third quarter, Willie Swain found the end zone after a 2-yard run.
After the PAT by Revell Edwards, the Lions led 49-0 at the 2:26 mark.
In the fourth quarter they added one more score after a 5-yard touchdown run by Fennell with 7:56 left in the game.
"The bottom line is we gotta evaluate what we did, and then we've got to get our kids to understand that at some point they can't be scared of that bunch up the road," Collins said. "I'm not sure if we've conquered that fear yet."
Newton's Quenton Pooler, Jaquan Dorsey and Antonio Williams each rushed for 11 yards.
"I just wonder what factor (intimidation) played a role," Collins said. "Because there's no way, and I don't care what you say, there's no way they're 56 points better than us."
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.