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RGR | Newton, Bishop Carroll to open 5A West playoffs in Wichita
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On Friday night, the 12th-seeded Railers of Newton (3-5) will travel south into Wichita for the third straight week, this time for a showdown with the fifth-seeded Golden Eagles of Bishop Carroll (6-2) to open the KSHSAA 5A West playoffs.
Location: Bishop Carroll Family Stadium (Wichita)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Weather: 61 degrees. Mostly clear. 0% chance of rain.
Spread (via the Esch Index): Bishop Carroll (-2)
What’s at stake?
With a win, Newton would advance in the playoffs for the first time in 20 years when the Railers defeated Winfield, 41-0, under head coach Brent Glann in 2002. It would also be Newton’s first win over Bishop Carroll since 1991 — when Ted Jantz led the Railers to 9-2. For the Golden Eagles, the favorites are looking for their 18th straight first-round playoff victory. The winner gets a date with the winner of fourth-seeded Hutchinson versus 13th-seeded Liberal.
Once again, the Newton defense will be tasked with containing a lethal ground attack, this time one that likes to work by committee (as opposed to a star rusher). Three Bishop Carroll rushers — Jackson King, Derek Breese, and Thomas Gorges — have each tallied over 75 carries and combined for 1,630 yards en route to an outright Greater Wichita Athletic League title. The Golden Eagles haven’t been overly comfortable in the passing game, attempting just 165 passes as a team with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. The Railers will look to make Bishop Carroll beat them through the air.
Players to watch
Newton: QB Colby Gomez. The junior has embraced the offensive shift head coach Greg Slade has implemented, and in the Week 8 loss to Derby, he led his team in rushing with 104 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Gomez will likely see another heavy workload with his legs as the Railers continue to place an emphasis on time of possession and ball security against Bishop Carroll.
Bishop Carroll: QB Jackson King. Like Gomez, the junior has found success on the ground, amassing 851 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns to lead Bishop Carroll in the regular season. He’s tallied 100 or more yards rushing on three occasions. Through the air, he’s totaled 1,046 yards passing, but enters Friday night with a completion percentage of just 49.
Facts and figures
Newton is 1-9 against Bishop Carroll all-time. … Newton and Bishop Carroll last played each other in the first round of the 5A West playoffs in 2018. Bishop Carroll won, 40-34. … Newton’s lone win over Bishop Carroll was a 39-13 victory in 1991. … The last time Bishop Carroll lost in the first round of the playoffs was in 2004 when it lost to Great Bend, 42-28. … This will be Newton’s third consecutive road game. It’ll be Bishop Carroll’s first home game since Oct. 7.
Esch Index projection: Bishop Carroll 25, Newton 23