Taking advantage of eight turnovers, the Newton High School football team slipped out of Goddard last week with a 31-29 win over Goddard Eisenhower.
The Railers will look to build on that momentum when they host Valley Center at 7 p.m. Friday at Fischer Field.
“We’re just working to keep getting better,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “We had a good week of practice. I felt like we were a little off Tuesday, but did a better job (Wednesday). We’re continuing to take it one day at a time. The emphasis is about what we do.”
The visiting Hornets are 3-0 after a 35-7 win over Arkansas City to open Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division II play in Valley Center.
Valley Center enters the game in fourth place in the 16-team Class 5A West District, 36 points behind leader Kapaun-Mt. Carmel. Before the win over Ark City, the Hornets downed Salina South by six points and Campus by one point.
“They are just a great team,” Jaax said. “They have had a defensive score in each game. Two of those led to the team winning. They are a great defensive team. They are going to try and force turnovers. Offensively, they do a lot of different things. They have a power running game. They pass a little bit. We are going to have to minimize mistakes on defense.”
Valley Center quarterback Wyatt Lange was injured late in the first half of the season opener against Salina South and has not returned. In his place, junior Parker Schrater has hit 18 of 31 passes for 282 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Junior Larry Wilson has 50 carries for 204 yards rushing and a touchdown. Dalton Cross has five catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson has five catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Tyler Boone leads the defense with 31 total tackles, followed by senior Patrick Gillen with 25 and Cross with 24. Brennan Ricks has three sacks. Wilson has three interceptions, followed by Cross with two.
“Their defense runs downhill pretty well,” Jaax said. “They are very aggressive. They do a good job against the pass.”
Aaron Coash has a 35.8 yards-per-punt average and has hit eight of 10 extra-point kicks.
“We’re going to have to be a lot more consistent on offense,” Jaax said. “In the second half, it seems like we’d get one first down on a series and have to punt. We did a good job of taking care of the ball. On defense, we’re going to have to do what we did last week. We need to create turnovers and we’re going to have to eliminate big plays.”
Newton’s Colton Davis has hit 28 of 61 passes for 260 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Davis also has 31 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Isaiah Presley has 38 rushes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Jamieson Jackson has 26 carries for 121 yards.
Hunter Mapes leads the receivers with 10 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Warren Dietz has six catches for 58 yards.
Ryan Watkins leads the defense with 16 total tackles, followed by Sid Simmons with 14.