COVINGTON — Speed is going to be the determining factor if the Rams hope to continue their bid for a Region 2-AAAAAA championship against Druid Hills tonight at 7:30 at Homer Sharp Stadium.
Against Lovejoy and Luella, which outscored the Red Devils (2-3, 0-2) 96-0, they were able to gain large amounts of yardage once they turned the corner. Newton head coach Terrance Banks feels that his team should be able to do the same thing to secure the victory.
“We saw film and that’s pretty much how some of the other teams have been able to move the ball. If we can get the ball to the edge we’ll have the advantage,” Banks said. “Against Lovejoy, once they got to the end it was like see you later. I think that’s how it will be with the passing game or running game, once we get to the edge we’ll be totally successful.”
Even though Newton (2-3, 1-0) has a lot of team speed, Druid Hills also has a lot of team speed. The main difference between the two teams is the amount of players on each team. The Red Devils are forced to play a lot of players on both sides of the ball causing them to slow down and get fatigued especially in the second half. With the Rams having dedicated offensive and defensive players, they should be able to keep a fast tempo to tire out their opponent.
“Late in the third quarter you saw a lot of kids with their hands on their hips which is a sign that they’re tired. If we’re able to maintain a fast tempo we will be successful,” Banks said.
Druid Hills does have the ability to move the ball and put points on the scoreboard as evident with their 47 points against Clarkston and the 34 points against Therrell. The problem they run into is they tend to have miscue causing them to lose a lot of yards they gained. Newton has to make sure they put enough pressure on the Red Devils to force them to continue to struggle.
“I’ve seen them on film and they have a lot of athletes. They play really hard and skill-wise, they’re very talented,” Banks said. “From watching them in the last few games they’re just a miscue here or a miscue there from being successful. They’ve been having struggles with turnovers the last few games. We’re going to try some things that will hopefully enable us to win the turnover battle and put ourselves in good field position.”
In order to put the game away early, Newton is going to have to find a way to apply the pressure earlier rather than wait for later in the game before setting the pace.
“We’ve had some injuries that have hurt us. Our quarterback (sophomore Romario Johnson) is maturing but some things are still a roller coaster. He has to do a better job of putting things together early in the game,” Banks said. “But once we get to the flow of the game he seems to do a better job.”