CLARKSTON - It was a long and frustrating night for Newton as the Rams fell for the fourth year in a row to M.L. King, this time 15-8 at Hallford Stadium.
The Rams' (3-3 overall, 1-2 in Region 2-AAAAA) offense had trouble moving the ball, forcing their defense to take matters into their own hands for much of the evening.
"We had no offensive production tonight. We did not move the football at all," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "That is how we practice all week. We didn't practice great this week and it showed (Friday)."
Both teams were scoreless with 3:56 remaining in the first quarter until Lions quarterback Kevin Byard forced the ball into coverage and was picked off by D.J. Hill, who rumbled 65 yards for Newton's first - and only - touchdown of the game.
With the a successful two-point conversion, a pass from Shaquille Lindsey to Torrian Hunte, Newton took the lead 8-0.
"If our defense played great, than we might have had a chance," Collins said. "If we had a little more offense, then our defense would have helped keep us in it."
The Lions (6-0, 3-0) returned the favor in the second quarter as their new quarterback, Cameron Myers, connected with Cleveland Andrews, who beat a Newton defender for a 46-yard touchdown.
After M.L. King failed to tie the game, Newton quarterback Tyree Williams took a knee, sending the Rams heads into the locker room leading by two at the half.
M.L. King came out focused in the second half as the Lions put together a six-play, 61-yard drive, finishing with a toss to running back Mark Brown Jr., who took it in for a 20-yard touchdown.
With another failed two-point conversion, the Lions held a four-point lead with 9:22 reminding in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Newton defense again came to the rescue, stopping the Lions' seven-play drive when Brown fumbled and Jamal Hunte recovered the ball on the Newton 24-yard line.
Newton had a great opportunity to take the lead, putting together a nine-play drive, including a huge pass play from Williams to Davon Mann for 21-yards. But the M.L. King defense kept the Rams out with a huge sack by Rahmon Swain, forcing the Rams to punt.
The Lions capitalized on Newton's missed scoring opportunity again in the fourth quarter with Williams throwing an interception to Patrick Calloway, who took the ball down to the Rams' 20.
With a great defensive stop by Newton, M.L. King had to settle for 22-yard field goal by Momodou Marrah with 9:22 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Newton had one last chance to put together another drive, but Williams threw his second interception of the night, this one to Aldrickous Shumake, to give the Lions the victory.
"We have to make (the team) understand what it takes to win big ball games," Collins said. "What have to get them to understand what it takes to play in a big game like this."