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Rams hurt themselves in loss to Newnan

COVINGTON -- Three interceptions, four personal fouls and six three and out drives enable Newton to shoot themselves in the foot and give Newnan the momentum they need to get 21-7 win on Saturday at Homer Sharp Stadium.

Of the six times the Rams (3-1 overall, 0-1 Region 2-AAAAA) had to punt, five of those were five or more yards away from getting a first down. While the Rams hurt themselves, the defense helped Newnan (2-2, 1-0) with three first downs after stopping them.

"The defense, we didn't help ourselves there getting them in third down then getting a penalty on a silly mistake and undisciplined calls. Those are things we have to get fixed," Newton head coach Cortez Allen said. "We're still in the early part of our region season. We have to get those things fixed if we're to be successful."

Newton's problem started in their opening drive. On the eighth play of the drive, Rams quarterback Gmatreian Brown threw the ball resulting Newnan taking the lead on a 36-yard Nick Cameron interception.

"That's a thing that's been a thorn in our side, getting off to a slow start," Allen said. "With swing pass, I think we just got a little lackadaisical with our read and our look and he just let it go thinking that they gave it to him. He sat there in the flat. It was a great play by them and a poor play by us. That's really what it came down to."

Brown's completion rate would have been well over 50 percent if not for dropped passes that hit the ground after they went through the hands of the receivers while open. The Rams finished the game with 154 passing yards.

The Cougars took a comfortable lead after an 11-play, 54-yard drive capped by a 3-yard Qunton Dix run with 3:06 left in the first period. Dix led all rushers with 81 yards on 22 carries.

Newton's passing game was not bad all the time. In Newton's scoring drive, Brown put the ball in the air nine times completing it six times including a 29-yard pass to Javonte Williams before connecting with Taylor Hawkins for a 15-yard touchdown a minute into the second quarter.

Brown finished the game throwing three interception while completing 42 percent of his passes going 13-for-31.

"We have to do a better job (passing). But it came down to them making plays and us not (making plays)," Allen said.

Field position also played a big part in the outcome as Newton started their drives inside the 10-yard line three times with an average starting position of the 18-yard line. The Cougars on the other hand, averaged their drives on the 37-yard line near midfield four times including inside Newton territory once.

Newnan's final drive started on the Rams' 39-yard line. It took them five plays before Cody Darracott scored on a 6-yard pass from Nick Smith with nine minutes left in the game.

"This is one we wanted to get," Allen said. "It's like we tried to tell the kids, we had to get this one because this was a team we felt like we could beat. If we don't take care of those games early, you get to the end of the season then you're back to what you would've, could've or should've done."