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RGR | Newton to host Arkansas City in non-league homecoming matchup
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On Friday, Newton (0-4) will host Arkansas City (1-3) for homecoming. The matchup serves as a break from league play for the Railers, as the Bulldogs of Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division 2 make the hour-and-a-half trip north to Athletic Park.
Location: Fischer Field Stadium (Newton)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Weather: 75 degrees. Partly cloudy. 0% chance of rain.
Spread (via the Esch Index): Arkansas City (-3)
What’s at stake?
Both Newton and Arkansas City are looking to break losing streaks, with the Railers coming off four straight losses to open the season with three straight to ranked opponents — most recently at the hands of 5A’s seventh-ranked Maize South. The Bulldogs are hoping to rebound from defeats to Andover, 4A’s sixth-ranked Andover Central, and Goddard. This is the first meeting between Newton and Arkansas City since 2017 when the Railers won, 42-34, and the sixth meeting overall since 2008.
The Newton secondary must give its defensive line time to apply pressure on Arkansas City quarterback Gabe Welch (or Jordy Pierce, who played most of last week) to deter an aggressive Bulldog aerial attack. In the team’s week two loss to Andover, Welch threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns on 21 completions in 37 attempts. Against Goddard, Pierce threw two touchdowns on eight completions with 188 yards. Regardless of who lines up under center, getting to the passer will be crucial for the Railers.
Players to watch
Newton: DL Ricky Parga. The senior and four-year starter stood out in the second half of last week’s loss to Maize South and will be looking to continue that to cause havoc in Arkansas City’s backfield. Each phase of the Railer defense must work with one another to create negative plays and a leader such as Parga recognizes this.
Arkansas City: WR Cadon Clark. At 5-foot-11, the senior possesses the ability to track the ball on deep routes and will poke holes in the Newton secondary if given space. The Bulldogs feel comfortable utilizing Clark in different ways — from fades to screens to double-passes — and will keep the Railers on their toes wherever he lines up.
Facts and figures
Newton is 4-2 against Arkansas City since 2008, with the largest margin of victory being a 49-0 Newton win in the same year. … Arkansas City averages 24.5 points per game to Newton’s 14.5 points per game. … Arkansas City allows just over 29 points per game while Newton allows 34 points per game. … The combined record of Newton’s opponents so far this season is 13-3, and the combined record of Arkansas City’s opponents so far this season is 8-8. … This is the first of back-to-back home games for Newton and the second of back-to-back road games for Arkansas City.
Esch Index projection: Arkansas City 30, Newton 27