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Rams enter game with playoff mindset

COVINGTON - The Newton Rams are one game away from the playoffs.

At least that's the attitude the Rams are taking when they play Douglass at 7:30 p.m. today at Homer Sharp Stadium.

"Our attitude is that this is playoff game one. In the situation we're in, we have to take care of ourselves. We have to beat Douglass, that's our total focus," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "We have a young team that's never been in this situation. The word playoff is a dangerous word."

Although still a long shot, Newton must win and not worry about what the other teams are doing.

What makes Douglass a dangerous team is its speed and power.

With the Astros being bigger and stronger than the Rams, Collins has to make sure that his team does everything right.

"They're going to be bigger than us; they're going to be stronger than us, but technique and leverage are big keys," Collins said. "We can't allow their quick running backs to get out on the edge on us."

A key to stopping Douglass' running game is going to fall on the shoulders of their linebackers.

D.J. Hill, Quinton Pooler and the rest of the group are going to have to make sure that they fill the gaps and make clean tackles.

"It could make a difference between winning and losing," Collins said.

Because of possible weather conditions, Collins said that the running game is going to determine the winner.

"It would not surprise me if you don't see the ball in the air," he said. "We're going to run the football; they're going to run the football. Bottom line is who's going to run it the best."

As a result of a limited game plan, Collins is going to count heavily on Pooler to make an impact.

With Douglass being bigger and faster then the Rams, Collins' plan is simple, run the ball and try to punish the tackler.

"We're going to have to rely on some big backs to run the football for us. Hopefully, we can pound them enough to where we can wear them down some," Collins said.

One thing that could be an advantage for Newton is that Douglass went through a major coaching chance.

"They're going through what a lot of teams go through when you change coaches. The players have to adapt to a system they've never done before. It takes time to get used to," Collins said. "They're still talented and athletic. If you look past them they will hurt you."

While playing a new program might give the Rams the advantage, this may not be the case for this game.

"This game is a little different. Kenny Barrow was the head coach at Mundy's Mill last year. My defensive coordinator was his defensive coordinator. My quarterback coach was his offensive coordinator. My corners coach was his secondary coach. There's a lot of familiarity with (coach) Barrow," Collins said.

"The flip side is there's a lot of familiarity with our coordinators. It comes down to cat and mouse. Will he stay true to what he does? Who's going to bend and who's going change?"