The Newton High School football team is coming off a narrow loss, while the Hutchinson Salt Hawks are coming off a narrow win.
The two teams will clash at 7 p.m. Friday at Gowans Stadium in Hutchinson in a non-league game between the former league rivals.
Hutchinson opened the season with a 22-21 win over Olathe East on the road, while Newton fell to Maize 22-19.
Down by 14 at the half, Hutchinson twice in the final nine minutes of play. A two-point conversion on the second Salt Hawk score with 1:12 won the game.
Newton was tied at the half against Maize, but gave up nine points in the third quarter. The Railers scored with 10:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie or take the lead late, but came up short.
“The kids had a good week of practice,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “They had a lot of things to go over, but they came in with a lot of energy, and that made it a lot easier.”
Hutchinson is coming off a Class 6A state quarterfinal berth, finishing the season 9-2. Both losses came against Derby, which cost the Salt Hawks a chance at both the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I title and a state title.
“They do what Hutchinson teams do best, and that is play very physical,” Jaax said. “Their MO is to be more physical than their opponent. We saw Olathe East at one of our camps this year, and they are a very quality team. Hutchinson is a very quality opponent and we await the opportunity to play them.”
Hutchinson’s offense is led by running back Brody Smith, who had 16 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. Joesiah Galindo added 19 carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Trevor Rhoades had 20 carries for 72 yards.
The Salt Hawks had just 34 yards in the air as Rhoades went one of five passing. Smith caught the pass.
“They are going to try and get big plays by trying to run the ball outside,” Jaax said. “They will also try to hit passes to the outside for big plays. They run the flex-bone, which we don’t see much. Their defense makes constant adjustments. They bring a lot of pressure. Their defense is very similar to what Maize ran.”
Newton had to give several key offensive players their baptism by fire last week against Maize.
Colton Davis hit 19 of 27 passes last week for 153 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Isaiah Presley had 20 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Mapes had eight catches for 65 yards.
Newton held a 281-255 advantage in total offense.
The Railers were hampered by 11 penalties for 56 yards.
“We still have a lot of things we need to improve on and a lot of things we need to clean up,” Jaax said. “We need to continue to learn and grow and this week gives us a good opportunity.”