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RGR | Newton wins second straight in rout of Salina South, 45-14: Recap and analysis
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NEWTON — With 4:07 left in the second quarter, Newton (2-4) senior wide receiver Camden Carr took a handoff from quarterback Colby Gomez on a counter sweep and ran untouched for 20 yards to paydirt to put the Railers back on top of Salina South (0-6) by two scores, 21-7.
The Cougars would never get back within a possession again on Newton’s senior night last Friday as the home squad took a 45-14 win at Fischer Field Stadium — its first in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division 1 play.
“I felt like we did some good things offensively and defensively,” Railers head coach Greg Slade said. “I think we were well prepared. Salina South had some kids out with injuries which definitely hurt them. … But I felt like [our] kids came out and played hard.”
Carr’s touchdown was just one of the many explosive plays for the Railers that were a product of Newton’s new offensive approach — one that emphasizes under-center misdirection and getting the ball in space quickly.
“I ran this offense years ago where we were under center,” Slade said. “And we put a few things in last week and they worked … and now it's kind of expanded. We still have the capability to run our shotgun stuff but we need to be able to control the ball and keep our defense off the field and I felt like this is something we could do.”
The scoring got started when Newton captured a 14-0 lead with rushing touchdowns from Isaac Klug (first quarter) and Gomez (early second quarter). Salina South got on the board with a Layson Sajdak catch on fourth down to make it 14-7. Carr’s scamper and a Collin Hershberger field goal would extend that lead to 24-7 at halftime.
From there, the Railers cruised, tacking on 21 more points while the Cougars wouldn’t find the end zone again until late in the fourth quarter. And when the final horn sounded, Newton had capped off back-to-back wins with a 31-point blowout in what’ll likely be the team’s last home game of 2022.
“I was pretty happy with [our performance], we'll watch the film and see what we need to work on for next week,” Slade said. It seemed like we gave up a lot of yards, but we never really did, except for that one long pass play. We got a lot of kids involved [on offense]. It was nice to come out and control the ball. … We’re running the ball really well right now.”
James Hulse led the Railers in rushing with 97 yards on 12 carries. Four different Newton rushers scored at least once. Layson Sajdak led Salina South in receiving with 96 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.
It was an explosive night from wire to wire for Newton.
The key play you likely forgot:
Late in the first quarter, Salina South got the ball back for its second possession of the night after Newton took a 7-0 lead. After a pair of penalties, the Cougars were forced to punt — and shanked it. The Railers took over at the opposite 38-yard line and would score seven plays later to make it 14-0 just 13 seconds into the second quarter. Salina South was never able to regain any sort of momentum.
The turning point:
Leading 14-7 with under four minutes to go in the first half, Newton’s offense was forced to punt and Salina South took over at its own 20 with a chance to tie and steal momentum right before halftime — something the Railers have struggled with all season. Just three plays later, Keon Edwards would step in front of a pass from Landon Putman and tally the first of three Newton interceptions. This set up Carr’s scoring run to give the Railers a commanding 21-7 lead that only extended from there.
The Newton offense has found its identity in running the ball with its playmakers and simplifying the game for its offensive line. Up until Friday night, there was no clear-cut bread and butter for the Railers — nothing they could fall back on to move the ball effectively. Slade’s group has identified that at just the right time with playoffs now closing in, three weeks away.
The Newton defense is playing with an immense amount of confidence and created a huge advantage in starting field position for a rising Railer offense that it’s now complementing on a consistent basis for the first time this season. Only time will tell if this trend withstands the rigor of better opponents, but these past two weeks were set to be ‘get-right’ games for Newton and the Railers have taken full advantage of it.
The area of concern:
Allowing a late fourth-quarter Salina South touchdown left somewhat of a bad taste in the mouths of the Newton faithful, especially as point differential becomes ever so important in terms of playoff seeding. End-of-half defense for the Railers (aside from the final moments of this game’s first half) has been a concern throughout 2022. This will be a space to watch as the games get tighter in late October (see Newton’s losses to Valley Center and 5A’s fourth-ranked Hutchinson).
Full offensive stats:
To see full offensive stats from this game, click/tap the button below.
Newton hits the road for a date with Haysville-Campus in search of its second AVCTL-I win on the season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Campus Colt Stadium. The Colts are 1-5 and coming off a 28-7 loss to Hutchinson.