PREPARATION ATHLETICS: Rams are making ‘great progress’

COVINGTON, Georgia – Following the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year, Newton High School Athletics has begun preparations for next year.

But before moving on to preparations for 2022-23, athletic director Vincent Byams summarized the past year in athletics for the Rams.

Byams also acknowledged “great progress” in all Rams programs.

“Overall, I can see the improvement in all of our programs,” Byams said. “We have the coaches out there committed to the kids and the kids committed to the program.”

Beginning with the fall season sports, soccer and softball were the first two programs that came to Byams’ mind.

In football, the Rams finished 4-5 overall, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Still, Byams said the team was “a game or two away” in many games throughout the season.

The Lady Rams softball team qualified for the state playoffs in 2021 but lost in the first round. Newton was defeated by Newnan 2-1, 2-0 in games one and two.

Byams said the team “had chances” to get a win, but things didn’t go that way for the Lady Rams.

During the winter season, Byams paid tribute to both Newton basketball teams and the success they both had over the past year.

They were the No. 3 seed in the state playoffs for the Lady Rams and were eliminated in the first round. Byams stressed that injuries were a big factor in the Lady Rams’ bottom line, but he was nonetheless impressed to see what the team had achieved despite setbacks.

However, the boys’ basketball team seemed to be the biggest highlight of the Rams’ athletic achievements.

For the second year in a row, the Rams finished as region runners-up and reached the Final Four of the state playoffs before Norcross knocked them out of the championship fight.

Byams acknowledged that the sheer talent that coexists in the Rams roster has paid off tremendously in terms of success on the pitch.

As for show jumping, the Rams baseball team was under the direction of a freshman head coach in Derwin McNealy. In addition, many first and second graders competed at university level last year. And Newton qualified for the state playoffs.

Byams said he’s noticed a certain “competitive juice” within the team despite many challenges the team faces.

For both football teams, Byams said each started well overall.

The girls soccer team achieved two wins outside the region in 2022 after not even fielding a team in 2021.

The athletic year for Newton was rounded off by the boys’ and girls’ track and field teams.

Each team had runners who qualified for and finished at the state meet.

Regarding plans for even greater success next year, Byams said it’s about each program being able to climb the next hump. Byams highlighted how it starts with everyone at Newton and how they are preparing for the summer.

“It starts with us,” Byams said. “We control how hard we work in the weight room, how hard we train and whether we listen to your coaches. I know all our coaches are showing them that and they’re starting to believe it. It’s something more tangible now. In years past it’s been like, ‘Oh, we’re going to play Parkview. We can’t beat them.” Then, when we see that we can beat some of these teams, then [the players] can see it.”

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