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Chance to host playoff first-round game at stake for Newton

COVINGTON — The Rams may not be in a must-win situation to make the first round Class AAAAAA playoffs, but they must win if the hope to host the first round of the playoffs against Morrow at 2 p.m. at Homer Sharp Stadium on Saturday.

Unless Alcovy upsets Lovejoy in tonight’s game at Homer Sharp Stadium, the Rams (4-5 overall, 3-2 Region 2-AAAAAA) will host the No. 3 seed from Region 4-AAAAAA.

A loss by Newton and a win by Rockdale tonight against Druid Hills, the Rams find themselves in a three-way tie with Rockdale and Luella for the final two region playoff spots. But the Rams just want to win and make it easy on themselves.

“If Rockdale loses we’re in the playoffs but that’s not what we want. We want to be at Sharp Stadium next Friday night. The only way for us to be Sharp Stadium Friday night is to beat Morrow,” Newton head coach Terrance Banks said. “I have no desire and the kids have no desire to get on the bus and travel for an hour and 40 minutes or more to play in the first round of the playoffs against North Cobb or McEachern or Hillgrove. We want to be able to do our normal routine, go through our normal pregame and get on the bus and ride for 10 minutes to Sharp Stadium and be ready to play. The only way we get to do what we want to do is win on Saturday.”

To prevent Morrow (1-8, 0-5) from getting their first region win, and second overall win, of the season Newton cannot afford to take them lightly. The Mustangs have the weapons to put points on the board. Morrow has been averaging more than two touchdowns a game. The problem is that they tend to hurt themselves bringing back big plays.

“They have a very good quarterback that can do some good things and they have an outstanding receiver,” Banks said. “They’ll put together a good drive and make a big run them have it called back for holding. Or they’ll have a team in third and 14 and someone blows a coverage so it’s a first down. They’ve been on the brink of having good things happen but the ball just hasn’t bounced their way at the right opportune time.”

Banks has been preaching to his team that get the win they will have to stay focused for the full 48 minutes of the game. By staying focused the entire time, Banks is hoping that they will take care of the ball and not get hit with penalties.

“We can’t be the ones to make mistakes. I think that’s what it comes down to,” he said. “If Morrow plays mistake free and we don’t, we’re going to be in a dogfight. We have to go out there and take care of the ball, no penalties, no special team breakdowns and just play good fundamentally sound football. If we do that we should be at home for the playoffs.”