Cougars host 4A champs
The Newton County Cougars are coming off a week of a rest as they open district play by hosting reigning Class 4A champions Forrest County on Friday night.
Newton County entered their bye off a soggy, 33-10 win over West Lauderdale in Week 5.
“We had the chance to go back and work on some basics,” Newton County head coach Jamie Williamson said. “It's been positive for us, that's for sure.”
In addition to being well rested, the Cougars were given healing time.
Sophomore quarterback Jacob Edwards has been cleared for contact after suffering a hairline fracture in his non-throwing wrist against Forest in Week 4. Trent Hundall will be back after being out with a concussion.
“Getting those back at the right time is definitely a big plus,” Williamson said.
Both squads enter the matchup at 4-1, but Williamson said the Cougars' strength the last few weeks has been the defense and hopes it continues that way.
“With districts starting, it couldn't be a better time for them to grow up and play good,” he said. “[Forrest] is strong on offense, defense is pretty good, we'll have our work cut out for us.”
Williamson said a key to getting the win will be starting strong.
Tigers look to build on wins
The Newton Tigers have built up some momentum with back-to-back wins as they enter district play hosting Scott Central on Friday night.
Last week, they had to come from behind to grab a 25-16 win over Richland. This week, head coach Chris Gale hopes the team puts up more points and plays strong the entire 48 minutes.
“I thought we should have scored more last two weeks, but again we scored period,” Gale said.
“Crawl before you walk, walk before you run.”
Gale said the biggest weakness in the win was giving up easy points and the team's ability to hold onto the ball as a few drops ended possible scoring drives.
“We gave up nine or 10 points, a touchdown and a field goal, basically on penalties … we don't know what would happen if we don't make those mistakes.”
The Rebels enter the match up fresh off a 32-14 loss to Leake Central and stand at 3-2 on the season. As for a the outlook, the Tigers are healthy and have been practicing hard to erase mistakes to prevent the Rebels from getting on the board.
“[Scott Central] do[es] a good job of challenging your toughness, so we are going to have to stand up to the challenge,” Gale said.