Photo by Howard Reed
COVINGTON -- Heading into the final game of the regular season, Newton had to win and two other teams had to do their part for the Rams to make it to the Class AAAAA playoffs.
It took a while as the game took four overtimes, but the Rams did their part with a 36-30 win over Luella. Unfortunately, Westlake and East Coweta were not on the same page as Westlake lost to Langston Hughes 40-18, while East Coweta beat Newnan 28-25.
"It's a lesson learned for us and our program. We can't leave our fate in the hands of someone else. Who knew that would happen?" Newton head coach Cortez Allen said. "We're excited and proud of our guys for a great finish to a good season. Things didn't work out the way we wanted, but we're proud of them and appreciate the hard work."
One thing that the Newton did have control of was making sure that senior running back Javonte Williams reached 1,000 rushing yards for the season.
Williams, who was 15 yards shy of the mark when the game started, rushed for 107 yards on 29 carries to finish with 1,092 yards this season. His final run of the game was 10-yard scamper for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth overtime period. Williams finished with three touchdowns in the game. He also added 47 yards to his overall totals with 47 yards on three passes.
"He did a great job. His first couple of carries he got bounced for a loss before he broke off some runs. He had (1,000 yards) toward the end of the first quarter. We're really excited him for that," Allen said.
Having a first for the game was Zack Sullivan who made his first field goal of the season. The kick came in a crucial time of the game as he split the uprights from 34-yards out during one of the overtime periods.
Newton could have prevented overtime if not for giving Luella two touchdowns during the game on special teams with another touchdown on a fumble.
"We had miscommunication with one punt and kicked the ball to the wrong side of the field and they returned it. We had some injuries that made us put some younger guys in the kickoff team and they ran a kickoff back on us," Allen said. "We fumbled the ball inside our 10-yard line and they scored on that, they recovered it in the end zone."
Even though the Rams missed the playoffs, Allen is proud of the way his team finished the year with a three-game win streak after losing four straight.
"It's a tremendous game," Allen said. "The kids fought hard."