The Newton High School football team’s defense struggled in the first half, but came through in the second, while the offense and special teams were on the whole game.
Newton downed Salina Central 42-20 Friday at Fischer Field on homecoming.
Newton improves to 2-3, while Central drops to 0-5. Newton downs Central in back-to-back games for the first time in school history. Newton wins two games in a row for the first time since 2013.
“We had to adjust our alignment,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “Central was just smashing us. They came out and played really well. We had to change what we were doing defensively. We made some adjustments and had a whole new half.”
Newton used a defensive scored and a special teams score to get ahead. Kicker Jorge Guiterrez went five for five on PAT kicks.
“We spend 15 to 20 minutes on special teams every day,” Jaax said. “Cailen Valdez did a good job on kick returns. He’s just coming back from an injury. Jorge has worked really hard. He’s never played football before. He has really devoted himself to it and looked really good today.”
Newton’s Colton Davis hit 12 of 18 passes for 172 yards. Davis also rushed for 66 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown. Jamieson Jones had 14 carries for 49 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter Mapes had seven catches for 140 yards.
Newton ran its most balanced and consistent effort on offense this season.
“We’ve seen a three-front all season long, and they play an even front,” senior offensive lineman Brett Ashcraft said. “That puts all of the defensive linemen in the gaps, which makes it easier to down block. We all focused and paid attention to what we were supposed to be doing. That turned out well for us. Overall, the run game was working, and when it wasn’t we were able to pass it. We ran a couple special plays at them and that called some confusion. We stepped it up in the second half and fourth quarter. Next time, we need to step it up in the first half, because we came out flat.”
For Central, Taylon Peters had 16 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. Jackson Kavanagh hit five of 15 passes for 78 yards with an interception and a touchdown. Kavanagh also rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Newton held Central to 165 yards in the second half.
Central scored on its first two drives, gaining yards in big chunks. Newton blocked the PAT kick on the second score.
Newton scored on its first possession and Cailen Valdez scored on an 88-yard kickoff return after Central’s second score. Newton hit both PAT kicks to take the lead.
“On the first one, I saw a huge hole up the middle and I was pretty close to breaking it too,” Valdez said. “I knew the ball was coming to me. I just had to make one guy miss. It was a fun game. We had the parade and the student section was great. That gave us a lot of momentum.
On Central’s third drive, the Railers held the Mustangs on downs just shy of the goalline. Newton had to punt on its second possession, setting up a 13-yard Kavanagh touchdown run.
Newton then used 17 plays to go 80 yards, scoring on a one-yard Davis run with 22 seconds left in the half.
The Railers opened the third quarter with a 13-play, 64-yard drive, scoring on a two-yard Cyle Gautschi run. Three-plays later, Matt Seirer pulled the ball away from Riley Counts and ran the ball in from 35-yards out.
The Railers stopped Central on downs at the Railer 15. Newton used a pair of long passes from Davis to Mapes to set up a three-yard Jones touchdown run with 10:32 in regulation.
The Railer defense forced Central’s first punt with 9:28 left in the game. Warren Dietz picked off a pass in the end zone with 6:32 to play.
Newton wasted some time on the following series, trying to bleed out the clock, but still went forward into Central territory on its next possession.
Newton plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Andover. The Trojans are 2-3 after a 14-10 loss to Campus.
“I think they are a very good team,” Jaax said. “They play really good defense. They play hard. They will be a task for us. I keep telling the kids, it’s not about them, it’s about us. We need to continue to execute. We’re learning from this season. If we keep with the attitude, effort and discipline, we can continue this.”
1q. SC Peters 31-yd. run (Peters kick) 10:40
1q. N Jones 1-yd. run (Guiterrez kick) 7:11
1q. SC Counts 40-yd. pass from Kavanagh (kick failed) 4:39
1q. N Valdez 88-yd. kickoff return (Guiterrez kick) 4:25
2q. SC Kavanagh 13-yd. run (Peters kick) 6:10
2q. N Davis 1-yd. run (Guiterrez kick) :22
3q. N Gautschi 2-yd. run (Guiterrez kick) 7:20
3q. N Seirer 35-yd. fumble return (Guiterrez kick) 5:57
4q. N Jones 3-yd. run (Guiterrez kick) 10:32
RUSHING — Salina Central: Peters 16-113, Counts 4-8, Griffitts 4-17, Kavanagh 10-98. Newton: Davis 19-66, Presley 7-24, Jones 14-49, Roberson 3-18, Gautschi 1-2, Mapes 2-9.
PASSING — Salina Central: Kavanagh 5-15-1, 78 yards. Newton: Davis 12-18-0, 172 yards.
RECEIVING — Salina Central: Peters 1-2, Counts 2-50, Prester 1-14, Goertzen 1-12. Newton: Mapes 7-140, Dietz 2-11, Roberson 1-4, Pfannenstiel 1-12, Hampton 1-5.
Missed field goals — none.