COVINGTON — Newton is going to have to control their turnovers and penalties if they hope to surprise Lowndes with an upset win at Martin Stadium on Friday.
“We’re going to have to bring our A-game but we’re going to have to focus more on us than we do Lowndes. We have to find a way to do the things that we need to do well,” Newton head coach Terrance Banks said. “If we don’t do those things well or correct those mistakes, it won’t make a difference who we play.”
The Rams (0-1) put the ball on the ground four times while losing it twice against Eastside last week both resulting in touchdowns for the Eagles in Newton’s 34-27 loss.
Newton also helped their opponent continue several drives with penalties. They hurt themselves as penalties brought the ball back eliminating long plays. The Rams had 15 penalties for 120 yards.
“We’ve worked on penalties, controlling our emotions and being careful with the snap count. They’re going to have 10,000 fans in the stands so noise will be an issue. We’ve worked on those things and I feel that we’re heading in the right direction,” Banks said.
There’s no doubt that Newton’s offense can move the ball as they gained more than 370 yards against Eastside with a well-balanced attack. The Rams ran the ball 32 times with sophomore quarterback Romario Johnson leading the way with 79 yards on 20 carries including a 15-yard touchdown run. He threw the ball going 16-for-31 passing for 222 yards two touchdowns.
Taylor Hawkins and Davonta Jones were on the receiving end on Johnson’s throws four times each with Jones gaining 59 yards and Hawkins gaining 41.
Their offense will have to just as potent against the Vikings (1-0) who held Luella to 61 yards of total offense with 22 coming in the first half.
“Lowndes is Lowndes and the type of defense they play reminds me a lot of my old high school coach. They believe in imposing their will on you and since we have a young quarterback we know they’re going to come after us early. I think that we should be able to impose our will back on them by saying we know what type of defense you have but we have to counter that,” Banks said. “We’ll have to make that adjustment to have success. It’s one of those games where we have to keep it simple and try to take advantage of the things that we think will get them out of their normal comfort zone. If we don’t do that it could be a long night.”
Offensively, Lowndes, who is the No. 4 ranked team in the state according to the Georgia Sports Writers Association, gained 201 of their 248 yards of offense on the ground. The Vikings could have had more yards to their tally playing out of the Wing-T offense but two touchdowns were called back because of penalties in their 42-2 win.
“They have a real tough offensive line and they have a running back that’s committed to Georgia Tech. There’s no secret that they’re going to line up and try to run us over,” Banks said. “We have to commit to have Lowndes beat us by throwing the ball.”