With the win, Newton travels to Liberal at 6 p.m. Thursday for the regional finals against the winner of Liberal and Great Bend. Liberal is the overall top seed in the South Central Region.


When the Newton High School boys’ soccer team had the pressure on, the Railers were in control Tuesday in the semifinals of the Class 5A South-Central I Regional against Wichita West at Fischer Field.

When the Railers let off the gas, there were some nerve-wracking moments. Newton scored a pair of goals midway in the first half, holding on for a 2-1 win against the Pioneers.

“The expectations today were to control the pace of the game,” Newton coach Scott Jantzi said. “I told the guys they were going to come out strong and fast. We took 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the speed of the game. Once we were able to gain control, we were able to play possession and get opportunities to get shots on goal. The last three out of four years, we struggled to get over this hump.”

Newton improves to 11-6, winning six straight. The goal the Railers gave up was the first since Oct. 14, a 2-1 win over Andover Central. Newton has won six straight and nine of the last 10.

Newton gave up the first three shots of the game, but scored on the Railers’ first opportunity on a breakaway by Brandon Gruver, set up by a Clover Castillo pass in the 25th minute. Less than four minutes later, Castillo pressured the West defense into a mistake, leading to a goal for the Railers.

West was able to gain some momentum early in the second half. The Pioneers broke Newton’s shutout streak with an Arturo Marrufo goal set up on a direct kick in the 55th minute.

Newton responded by regaining control of the ball. The Railers had several scoring chances down the stretch. The Railers also struggled with West’s off-sides trap, committing nine off-sides infractions during the game.

“We came out flat at the start of the second half,” Jantzi said. “Nobody stepped towards the ball. Their guy made a great shot. It was an unstoppable shot, but them we started getting the advantage. Momentum went our way. We started putting several shots on goal. (The trap) was causing trouble. I was telling my guys we need to hold.”

Casey Budd had five saves for the Railers. Alonso Tovar had five saves for West, which ends the season 9-8.

Newton travels to Liberal at 6 p.m. Thursday for the regional finals against the winner of Liberal and Great Bend. Liberal is the overall top seed in the South Central Region.

“They’re top in 5A around here,” Jantzi said. “They are going to play a lot more organized than West did. We will need to match their speed and skill. Hopefully, we’ll be up for the challenge. We need to make the passes. When we have the opportunities, we have to finish. Finishing will be key.”

W.West 0 1 —1

Newton 2 0 —2

1. N Brandon Gruver (Clover Castillo) 24:11

2. N own goal 28:05

3. WW Arturo Marrufo (unassisted) 54:29

Total shots — WW 3-3—6, New. 2-5—7. Shots on goal — WW 3-3—6, New. 1-5—6. Saves — WW: Alonso Tovar (L) 0-5—5. New.: Casey Budd (W) 3-2—5. Corner kicks — WW 2, New. 4. Fouls — WW 6, New. 7. Offsides — WW 3, New. 9.