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Newton comes short of advancing to second round

— Special team play proved to be the difference as East Coweta eliminated Newton in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs with a 25-20 win on Friday at Homer Sharp Stadium.

Poor punting on Newton's part allowed the Indians (5-6) to start their drive on the Rams (6-5) two times resulting in touchdowns each time.

“We knew if we couldn't find a way to get some solid kicks we were going to have a hard time,” Newton head coach Cortez Allen said.

“That was huge because we can flip the field,” East Coweta head coach Clint Wade said. “It made a big difference in the game. They had a great game plan, those coaches do a great job. They had their kids prepared; they have a lot to be proud of.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Newton keyed on running back Demarcus Godfrey allowing the rest of the team stepped up. East Coweta quarterback Bryce Gemmell was the first to step up by running the ball twice for 40 yards while completing a 24-yard pass to Malik Robinson before Godfrey punched it in the final two yards to put the Indians in the lead 7-0 with 8:26 left in the first half.

The Rams marched down the field trying to tie the game but fumbled on a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line. However, the Indians returned the favor turning the ball over on the 2-yard line where James Hardeman, who had 39 touches for 172 yards, run it in with less than one minute in the half. But the Rams missed the extra-point attempt allowing the Indians to maintain the lead by one point.

The Rams came out to start the second half East Coweta running the ball without trying to disguise it. Newton ran the ball 14 times for 80 yards with Hardeman taking the ball for the final eight yards taking half the time off the clock.

East Coweta took advantage of another Newton special team miscue where a 17-yard punt put the ball on the Rams 34. It took the Indians three plays before Godfrey scored from 18 yards out to take a 15-12 lead following a pass play for 2-point conversion.

After Godfrey scored on a 2-yard run, he intercepted Pittman's pass allowing the Indians to move the ball down the field allowing 31 to kick a 27-yard field goal making it a 13-point game.

However, the Rams refused to give up scoring on a 5-yard pass from Kemani Pittman to David Comer with 29 seconds left. But the Indians were able to cover the onside kick to hold on for the win.

Pittman completed 57 percent of his passes going 13-of-13 for 141 yards. Comer was the top receiver catching eight passes for 83 yards.