COVINGTON - The Newton Rams led the first half 7-6 and seemed to have a grip on the Douglass running game, but they were unable to adjust to the Astros' second-half throwing game as they lost homecoming 18-13 Friday at Homer Sharp Stadium.
"We just didn't have guys in position. We had that coached well," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "We didn't have guys make plays, didn't have guys in position.
"We have too good a field. If it had been sloppy and wet they couldn't have thrown it. But we have a good field that drains real good and makes for a good surface."
While good field conditions and Douglass' second-half passing contributed to the loss, other problems included sloppy play in all phases of the game.
Newton started the game in a jam after fumbling the opening kickoff on an unanticipated onside kick.
But Newton's defense held the Astros to 2 yards and forced a punt.
The Rams started deep in their territory beginning on the 4-yard line. Not that it mattered as it took Newton one play to score as Demetrius McCray turned the corner for a 96-yard touchdown run with 10:17 left in the first quarter.
McCray paced Newton with 95 yards on the ground on 12 touches.
Douglass did not stay down for long as they combined running and passing to move the ball 56 yards to the Newton 3-yard line. But a penalty took away a touchdown run before Newton's defense again stood to the challenge getting the ball back after stopping the Astros on a fourth-down play.
After blocking a Newton punt, Douglass' Tommy Gooden scored on a 12-yard run with 1:13 remaining in the first quarter.
The Rams maintained a 7-6 lead following Newton's defensive stop of a two-point conversion attempt.
After a scoreless second quarter, the Astros took the lead when Braylon Williams connected with Jamal Morton for a 43-yard touchdown pass with less then 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
Newton answered with an 11-play, 60-yard drive capped by a 6-yard DJ Hill run with three minutes left in the third.
Morton connected with Williams in the fourth quarter for 22 yards to give Douglass an 18-13 lead with 10:48 left in the game.
After stopping Douglass' drive, the Rams tried to take the ball down the field for the game-winning touchdown.
But on fourth and eight, Newton's pass was dropped, giving the Astros the win.
"We messed up in every situation you could think of. We did it on offense, we did it on defense, we did it in the kicking game, we didn't make any plays," Collins said. "That's it, we didn't make plays and they made plays."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.