COVINGTON - Newton's DJ Hill helped turn a cold night into a hot win Friday at Homer Sharp Stadium shutting out Greenbrier 39-0.
Hill had two of Newton's (4-3 overall, 2-2 Region 2-AAAAA) five interceptions, returning one 33 yards for a touchdown, and scored two offensive touchdowns. He also led the offense in rushing with 65 yards on 14 carries.
"He had a big night on defense, but our focus was to try to get him established on offense," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "I keep saying that we're real good with Akeem (Hunt), we're real good with closing with Torrian (Hunte), the guy that's missing in this mix is DJ. We have to get him going so we tried to feed him as much as we could and try to get his confidence going on the offensive side."
Also picking off Wolf Pack (2-5, 1-3) quarterback Scott Reeder were Bart Lindsey, with two, and Treshawn Curry.
The Newton offense acted as Santa Claus its first series giving Greenbrier a gift while the defense played Scrooge taking it away.
After Hill got an interception and returned it 38 yards to the Greenbrier 6-yard line, the offense gave the ball away on the third play with a fumble.
"I told them tonight wasn't a good night to get me upset. It took us a little while to get warmed up, but once we got warmed up we got things rolling and had good things happen for us," Collins said.
The offense was able to turn things around the second time it held the ball, moving it 78 yards in 10 plays capped by a 6-yard Torrian Hunte run with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Rams defense once again proved to be stingy on Greenbrier's next series. After Ryan Porter ran the kickoff back 55 yards to the Newton 23, the defense pushed them back to midfield, forcing a punt.
Newton's defense was so tightfisted that it held the Wolf Pack to 31 yards of total offense in the first half.
"The defensive team did what we asked them to do, which us keep us in ball games. When they get the opportunity to score, they have to score for us," Collins said. "Sometimes, they're the spark that gets the offense going."
The Rams took the ball 84 yards, converting a first on a third-down play three times, to make it 12-0 on a two-yard run by Hill with 4:31.
After Newton's Anthony Johnson dropped a pass on third and 5, Newton ran the same play with different results as Johnson came up with the pass from Tyree Williams for a 46-yard touchdown with 1:02 remaining in the half.
"We felt like we should've scored on the play before. There's no reason not to. We're in a ball game like we feel we should win, we didn't have things go our way and we felt we had to get things going. The best way to get things going was to get a big play on fourth down," Collins said.
The Rams finished the first half with 206 offensive yards, 74 rushing and 132 passing.
Williams was 7 of 19 in the game, but 0-for-9 in the third quarter, for 132 yards and one touchdown.
Lindsey caught four passes for 47 yards, while Johnson had the most yardage with 68 and two receptions.
"We have to establish the passing game. We felt like last week our spurting on offense came because of our inability to throw the football. If you can't throw it you can't run it; if you can't run it you can't throw it," Collins said. "We were trying to get the thing going so we could get some confidence in there. We have to be able to throw to if we want to make a run at the playoffs."