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RGR | Derby opens new stadium with 50-17 rout of Newton: Recap, notes, and takeaways
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DERBY, Kan. — Junior running back Dylan Edwards rushed for 285 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries as Derby (1-0) routed Newton (0-2) in the newly renovated Panther Stadium’s first game on Friday night by a score of 50-17. It was the first action of Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division 1 play for either team.
The story of the night was simple: explosive plays. After the first quarter, it seemed as though the Railers’ defense simply had no answer for the Panthers’ offensive attack — yielding 10-, 58-, and 63-yard touchdown runs by Edwards.
On the flip side, Newton wasn’t consistent in moving the ball efficiently. Sophomore quarterback Colby Gomez finished with a solid statline, going 23-of-42 for 216 yards. The Railers tried to establish their running game with running back Kenyon Forest, but the Derby defense held the senior to only 37 yards on 17 carries.
“Offensively, we had some young guys step up,” Newton head coach Chris Jaax told Mark Schnabel of The Kansan after the game. “We’re trying to work in kids in different spots. We’ll get there. Obviously, [Derby] is good.”
Here are my main notes and takeaways from Friday’s game.
Railers’ passing game building trust
Junior Isaac Klug recorded only two catches for 36 yards in the loss, but scored the lone passing touchdown on the night for Newton. Senior Jake Schmidt, who Jaax told me would be a big time playmaker for the Railers, finished with 97 yards on nine grabs. Four other players tallied a reception.
In total, six different receivers got a touch in the passing game. That’s a fantastic sign for Newton moving forward. It’s clear that Gomez is becoming increasingly comfortable with both the offensive scheme he’s conducting as well as the players he’s throwing to. This is reflected in a key stat in the box scores through two games: zero interceptions.
An offense that limits turnovers in the passing game will always give its team a fighting chance of winning. The Railers have done this so far, and that’ll allow them to be competitive — even when at an athletic disadvantage. This unit is on the brink of success, but it’ll have to focus on finishing drives, which is the same problem it faced in week 1.
Panthers expose disturbing trend in Newton defense
When Jaax discussed with me prior to the season what he believed his team’s strengths would be, one of the first areas he listed was the secondary. This evaluation has been nothing short of spot-on, as the group of experienced playmakers held Andover Central and Derby to only 127 passing yards combined and forced two interceptions by the Panthers.
However, it’s the the front seven that has struggled mightily so far in this young 2021 season — allowing 155 and 501 yards rushing in the Railers’ first two games respectively. This is the result of overwhelming inexperience within the group, which is a familiar trait for Newton’s roster as a whole. The Panthers dominated the line of scrimmage all night, making it that much easier for Edwards to take control of the contest.
The consequence that could potentially serve the Railers well moving forward is the experience a young defensive line and linebacker corps gained in playing such a talented opponent in Derby. There’s something to be said for the benefits of a ‘wake up call’, and that’s exactly what these players got on Friday night.
Looking ahead, Newton will face off with Maize in the second game of AVCTL Division 1 action. The Eagles are led by nationally-ranked, four-star quarterback Avery Johnson, who currently holds offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Auburn, and TCU. It’ll be the first big test for a Railers secondary that’s held its own so far.
Newton lost last year’s matchup 34-27.
Brett is a freelance reporter covering the 2021 Newton (KS) High School football team and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (TX) 5A high school football. To stay updated, subscribe by completing the field above. Follow Brett on Twitter (@brettaesch) for up-to-the-minute coverage. Thanks for reading.