LILBURN — Reeling from a three-game losing streak, the visiting Newton Rams stunned Region 4-AAAAAAA leader Parkview in a 20-18 victory Friday night.
Newton took advantage of a few trick plays and a great game by Ram running back Zion Johnson, who rushed for 201 yards on 18 carries to spark the offense. Newton improves to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the region, while Parkview falls to 6-2 and 2-1.
However, Parkview attempted a valiant comeback late in the game. Trailing 20-3 entering the fourth quarter, the Panthers fell just short of tying the contest as Khyair Spain was stopped short on a two-point conversion attempt with only 5.5 seconds remaining in the game.
“We waited a little too late to play good defense and to start moving the ball. We could not convert in the red zone early and really put ourselves in a bad situation,” said Parkview head coach Eric Godfree. “Newton has a really good football team. It just took us a bit too long to get our offense moving tonight.”
Newton got on the scoreboard first with a long drive that was seemingly stalled, however a trick play changed the early momentum. Quarterback Deron Benson threw a swing pass behind the line of scrimmage to Marcus Calwise, who proceeded to find a wide-open Gabriel Williams for a 46-yard touchdown pass. The PAT failed and Newton led 6-0 with 1:51 left in the first quarter.
The Panther offense finally got on track very late in the first quarter.
After moving into Ram territory, Parkview converted a fourth and 10 with a great over the shoulder catch by Spain that covered 31 yards. This gave the Panthers a first and goal at the Rams’ nine-yard line.
However, the Newton defense rose to the occasion and kept the Panthers out of the end zone. Facing a fourth and goal from the one, Spain was stopped just short of the goal line, turning the ball over to the Rams on downs.
The Panthers defense set the offense up with great field position midway through the second quarter. After forcing a short punt, Parkview took possession at the Ram 37-yard line.
However, the drive stalled, and Carlos Munoz booted a 38-yard field goal to put the Panthers on the scoreboard. Parkview trailed 6-3 with 3:58 remaining in the second quarter.
Not satisfied with a three-point lead going into the half, the Ram offense raced down the field.
Johnson burst around the left side and sprinted 46 yards to move the Rams down to the Parkview 35. Following a few more runs by Johnson and a facemask penalty that was assessed against the Panthers, Newton had a first and goal at the Parkview 9 yard-line.
The Rams once again went deep into their playbook for some more razzle-dazzle. This time Calwise took the handoff, turned and tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Deion Lewis. Jefferson Hernandez added the PAT to give Newton a 13-3 halftime lead.
The Rams began the third quarter with a bang as Zion Johnson scampered 71 yards untouched up the middle for a Newton TD. Following the PAT, Newton led 20-3 at the 9:50 mark of the third quarter.
The Panthers’ offense just could not get anything going until late in the third quarter. Parkview moved down the field as Colin Houck connected with Zach Hill on three key passes. Spain finished off the drive as he scored on a 2-yard TD run. The PAT failed and the Panthers trailed 20-9 with 10:19 left in the game.
Munoz booted another field goal from 33 yards away to cut the Rams’ lead to 20-12 with 3:11 left in the game.
The Panthers got one more chance to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Houck completed clutch throws to various receivers to move Parkview into position to strike. And that they did, as Antonio White outfought a Ram defender and hauled in a 34-yard TD pass from Houck with only 5.5 seconds left in the game. The two-point attempt came up short and Newton secured the win 20-18.
Newton 20, Parkview 18
Newton 6 7 7 0 — 20
Parkview 0 3 0 15 — 18
Newton: Gabriel Williams 46 pass from Marcus Calwise (PAT failed) 1:51
Parkview: Carlos Munoz 38 FG — 3:58
Newton: Deion Lewis 4 pass from Calwise (Jefferson Hernandez kick) 0:24
Newton: Zion Johnson 71 run (Hernandez kick) 9:50
Parkview: Khyair Spain 2 run (PAT failed) 10:19
Parkview: Munoz 33 FG — 3:11
Parkview: Antonio White 24 pass from Colin Houck (2-point Conversion failed) 0:05