The Newton High School football team has a chance to get some momentum on its side when the Railers host Salina Central at 7 p.m. Friday for homecoming.
The Railers are 1-3 after a 21-15 loss to unbeaten Valley Center last week, while Salina Central is 0-4 after a 55-37 loss at home to Campus.
With a three-point loss to Maize in week one, the Railers could easily be 3-1 right now. Newton is 12th in the Class 5A West District, while Salina Central is 15th out of 16 teams.
“The biggest thing right now is we have to cut down on errors,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “We played well against Valley Center last week. We had a couple of turnovers. We had a couple of times where we didn’t make plays. We need to really work on execution. When we start executing, we’re going to play with a lot more confidence. That is going to give us more Ws. The kids are improving. They have a great attitude, and that is really going to help.”
Central opened the season with a 12-point loss to Andover and a three-point loss to Arkansas City, but lost to Hutchinson 55-20 and Campus 55-37.
The Mustangs are on a 13-game losing streak. The last win for Central was 45-18 over Newton in the final game of the 2015 season. Newton won 45-21 last season.
“They are definitely a challenge for us and one we will need to be ready for,” Jaax said. “Salina Central has one of the best quarterbacks we have seen. He has a very strong arm. We’re going to have to be ready for that.”
Quarterback Brogan Richardson has hit 49 of 94 passes this season for 766 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. The leading receiver for the Mustangs is Kedric Liggins has 15 catches for 359 yards and three touchdowns. Taylon Peters leads the team in rushing with 76 carries for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Peters also has 10 catches for 182 pounds and three touchdowns.
Migc Aiyanyor leads the Central defense with 49 total tackles, followed by Jordan McMullen with 31 and Dawson Maring with 30. The Central defense has five sacks this season from five different players. The defense has no interceptions and one fumble recovery.
“It’s hard to say what kind of offense they will use this week,” Jaax said. “The last couple of games, they have thrown a lot when they have gotten behind. They have thrown up to 75 percent and they have been effective throwing. We’re going to have to be solid in the back and try to create some turnovers. They run a four-man front on defense. This will be the first four-man front we have faced this season, so we will have to see how our plays translate against that.”
For Newton, Colton Davis has hit 44 of 85 passes for 389 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Davis also has 49 carries for 209 yards and three touchdowns. Jamieson Jones has 35 carries for 194 yards. Isaiah Presley has 38 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter Mapes has 15 catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Warren Dietz has eight catches for 67 yards.
Dietz leads the defense with 37 total tackles, followed by Ryan Watkins with 29 and Sid Simmons with 26.
“We had a very good day of practice yesterday,” Jaax said. “Right now, we’ve had a lot of positives. We’re keeping the focus on the kids and just making sure they are executing.”