COVINGTON - Shaking off a heartbreaking loss to Stephenson from only six nights before, Newton County started fast to build up a 14-0 lead and cruised to a 36-16 win over Redan on Friday night before a homecoming crowd at Homer Sharp Stadium.
The visiting Raiders (1-4, 0-2 in 2-AAAAA), led by talented and tall quarterback Akil Dan-Fodio, picked up 20 yards on their first play before Newton County's (4-2, 1-1 in 2-AAAAA) defense stopped them cold and forced a punt. Dan-Fodio was tackled before getting the punt off and Newton set up its first possession from the visitors' 20-yard line.
The Rams needed only five plays to score with Akeem Hunt gaining all of the yards on five consecutive runs with the touchdown coming from a yard out. Newton attempted a pass for the conversion that failed keeping the Rams' lead at 6-0 with a little more than seven minutes left in the first quarter.
Newton's punt rush scored more points only minutes later when a host of Rams blocked a Dan-Fodio punt and defensive standout Torrian Hunte recovered the ball for six points. Hard running D.J. Hill ran across for the two point conversion and Newton County enjoyed a 14-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
It looked as if the Rams would go up by three touchdowns when the running of Hunt took Newton down to a first and goal from the Redan 5-yard line. Hunt was replaced by the larger Hill, and Newton stalled out and the ball went over on downs to Redan. Hunt proved to be a workhorse with 88 yards on 15 carries in the game.
That's when Dan-Fodio showed his passing skills by hooking up with wideout Javoris Bryant to march Redan down the field with completions of 13, 19 and 3 yards. The Raiders drove from their own nine yard line to Newton's 45 when Dan-Fodio hit Cordell Whitehead with a bomb for six points. The 6-foot-3 Dan-Fodio kept around right end for the two-point conversion to narrow the score to 14-8 with only 53 seconds left in the first half.
What looked like a scare was vanquished moments later when Newton returned the favor with a 37-yard strike from Tyree Williams to Bart Lindsey with only seven seconds left to play in the first half. The late first half score was set up by a 44-yard kickoff run by the all-purpose Hunt.
The second half was controlled throughout by Newton with the Rams getting two scores in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The first touchdown of the third period came when Williams connected with Devon Mann on another aerial bomb, this time for 46 yards. The Rams' second score of the stanza was an 11-yard run by Hill that was followed by a successful two-point pass from Shaquille Lindsey to Mann. This gave Newton a 36-8 lead entering the final quarter.
Redan's Dan-Fodio showcased more of his skills in the waning moments of the game when he guided his team down the field for another score. The elusive Dan-Fodio scrambled for 20 yards before showing nice touch on a touchdown pass to Bryant from 22 yards out with 1:09 to play. Dan-Fodio then connected with Whitehead on a swing pass for the two-point conversion and the final points of the game.