LOVEJOY Newton came out on fire against the AP Class AAAAAA No. 9 ranked Lovejoy. But the Wildcats quickly extinguished any hopes the Rams may have had of an upset scoring seven unanswered touchdowns in their 51-6 loss on Friday at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
“We came out fired up and we had the momentum with some turnovers. But (Friday night) we just got outmatched,” Newton head coach Cortez Allen said. “They were just a little bit too much for us.”
The Rams (3-5 overall, 3-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) defense held their ground on Lovejoy's (8-1, 5-0) first possession forcing them to settle for a Jamie Nunez 37-yard field goal four minutes into the contest.
Facing a third and 11 from their own 19, Newton's Kamani Pittman connected with David Comer for a 64-yard reception putting the ball on the Wildcats 17-yard line. It took the Rams five plays before James Hardeman scored on a 7-yard run.
Newton had a chance to put the Wildcats back on the heels after recovering a fumble on the Lovejoy 26-yard line on the ensuing kickoff. But the Wildcats showed that they were not going to rollover getting the ball back on downs after four plays.
“We prepared for it and tried to make sure the kids were ready to play above their heads and I really felt good about it. I thought we had it going early,” Allen said. “The guys started but we just didn't finish.”
The Wildcats turned into a scoring machine in the second quarter putting the ball into the end zone five times to take a 37-6 halftime lead.
While the Rams defense were ready to Lovejoy's running game led by Travis Custis, who committed to Georgia Tech and had 118 yards in three quarters of play and three touchdowns, it was the arm of quarterback Alejandro Bennefield that seemed to catch Newton off guard.
In three quarters of play, Bennefield threw for 223 yards, including 154 in the second quarter, and three touchdowns while completing 12-of- 20 passes. His primary receiver, Jai Murphy, had six catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
While Lovejoy earned most of the 403 yards they gained, a lot of those yards were a result of poor tackling.
“We have to lock up. We had dead legs for whatever reason, like not running our feet through the tackle. That kid's too good. Both (Custis) and (running back Jonathan Griffin), their both too good not to run through them,” Allen said
“Right now we're just trying to keep the kids encouraged. It's like we told them at halftime, we can't allow this to damper where we are in the season. We have to go back and fix some things we can fix sand get ready for the next one. This is our first region lost, we just have to keep after it.”