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Hawkins, Reed advance their careers playing at the next level

Newton football player Taylor Hawkins, right center, will continue his playing career with Reinhardt University (Submitted photo)

Newton football player Taylor Hawkins, right center, will continue his playing career with Reinhardt University (Submitted photo)

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Former Newton basketball player Deandra Reed, bottom center, is surrounded by friends, family and coaches as she commits with Albany Tech. (Submitted photo)

COVINGTON — Two more Newton athletes made it to the next level with Taylor Hawkins going to Reinhardt University for football and Deandra Reed playing basketball at Albany Tech.

Starting for the Rams football team for the past three years helped Hawkins become a proficient receiver. Hawkins had 35 catches including four touchdowns for 462 yards while averaging 13.2 yards reception. He had a 70-yard catch against Druid Hills and caught a season-high 100 yards on six catches against the Region 2-AAAAAA champions Lovejoy.

As a member of the Rams football program, Hawkins played a big part in helping Newton head coach Terrance Banks lead the team to a region runner-up in his first year as head coach.

“For us on offense we only had two seniors that started,” Banks said. “That senior leadership was needed especially with a sophomore quarterback. Many of them had never played a varsity game let alone started. Having been a three-year starter, he was a calming effect for the other receivers and the other teammates.”

While at Reinhardt, Hawkins will be a receiver where he will have a good chance to get some quality playing time for the two-year program.

Besides playing football, Hawkins was also a member the Newton basketball team where he averaged 9.6 points a game.

“T-Hawk played basketball for me, like his older brother Jamon, for four years,” Newton head basketball coach Rick Rasmussen said. “Taylor was a great defender and small forward for us. He locked down the best player on the other team for us for two years as a starter. He was an all-county player and a great young man. We are very happy for him and know that he will do great things at Reinhardt University. He epitomized student-athlete and represented NHS the right way on the football field, the basketball court and in the classroom.”

Reed could have gone to a four-year school but she made the decision to play for a two-year school to help improve her game. Playing small forward for a junior college means that she will get a chance to get playing time which is what she wanted.

“She had other options,” Newton girls basketball head coach Tiffani Johnson said. “She could have gone somewhere with her academics but she wanted to go there so she could play immediately. It was a good choice basketball-wise.”

As a senior, Reed started off slow but her game quickly escalated as the season progressed. While averaging just under 10 points a game, she caught the eye of the Albany Tech coach with her ability to keep her cool under pressure.

In the Region 2-AAAAAA championship game, Reed sank six 3-pointers in a row helping lift the Lady Rams past Luella 65-46.

However it wasn’t always easy for Reed who was on the varsity for four years starting her last two.

“She probably quit five times as a ninth grader. She wasn’t used to the pace and the running but I was glad she stuck with it because she became a big part of our program,” Johnson said. “When your scorers are off the team in normally off. But no matter what she always found a way to work through it, she kept shooting until her shot came back.

“She was definitely one of our leaders. She was the most vocal person we had on the floor. She was always thinking and helped run the offense. We leaned on her offensively for sure. One thing I liked about Deandra is that she was very mature due to her upbringing. She knows right from wrong and didn’t have a problem communicating with the coaches about any team concerns.”