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RGR | Newton gears up for a trip to Maize: Game details, storylines, and projection
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Coming off two straight defeats to open its season, Newton will now travel to K.T. Woodman Stadium on Friday night for its first road game of the season to face easily the toughest opponent on its schedule.
Maize, 5A’s second-ranked team, is 2-0 thus far after wins over Topeka (78-7) and 4A’s sixth-ranked Andover Central (42-14). Meanwhile, the Railers will be searching for their first win after losses to Valley Center (21-17) and 5A’s eighth-ranked Hutchinson (32-27).
It’ll be the third matchup between Newton and Maize in the last calendar year. A season ago, the Eagles won at Fischer Field Stadium, 54-10. They then defeated Newton again in the first round of the playoffs, 39-9. The Railers are also 0-13 against the Eagles since 2010.
And now, we’ll get our first look at a Slade-led Newton team against a top-five opponent. Here’s everything you need to know — including game details, storylines, and the Esch Index projection.
Location: K.T. Woodman Stadium (Maize)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Weather: 88 degrees. Clear skies. 0% chance of rain.
Spread (via the Esch Index): Maize (-68)
2021 results: Maize won both meetings, 54-10 and 39-9
Newton offense seeks repeat of week two performance
Fresh off the heels of easily its best performance in the past two seasons, there’s little doubt that the Newton offensive personnel feels this matchup with the potential league champions couldn’t have come at a better time. The unit will once again need a stellar showing by quarterback Colby Gomez, who passed for a career-high 287 yards last week. It’ll also need a step up from the running back duo of James Hulse and CJ Claussen — because no team can expect to compete with Maize one-dimensionally.
Monitoring the Maize gameplan
In 2021, Newton faced two versions of the Maize offense: the pass-heavy type that featured the arm of Kansas State-commit quarterback Avery Johnson, and the run-heavy type that dominated the trenches and sped the game up. Despite the struggles the Railers have faced in coverage defensively, don’t expect the Eagles to go pass-first against a team they feel they can win comfortably against on the ground. In other words, it’ll be a relatively quiet night for one of the nation’s best passers if things go Maize’s way.
Testing the stretch ahead for Newton
How Newton performs in this matchup could serve as a strong indication of how the team will fare in the four games that follow — which were noted before the season as the ‘lighter’ portion of the Railers’ schedule. This includes at Maize South, versus Arkansas City, Salina South, and at Haysville Campus. For a team like Newton, it’s vital that this squad rolls into that stretch with confidence (and some form of momentum) intact.
Unfortunately for Newton, it ended up on the list of most lopsided Esch Index projections of the week. However, it should be considered unreasonable to believe the Railers won’t find the end zone — they did so in each of last year’s contests with an offense that never showed half the production of what this season’s did a week ago. All signs point toward a big night for Maize, but I believe Newton will keep things interesting for longer than the Eagles would like.
Esch Index projection: Maize 68, Newton 0