By Mark Schnabel
After a setback last week at Andover, the Newton High School football team will be looking to get back on the winning side of the ledger when the Railers host traditional rival Arkansas City at 7 p.m. Friday at Fischer Field.
The game is senior night for the Railers.
Newton enters play 2-4, 1-2 in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division II play. The Railers are coming off a 42-14 loss to Andover.
Arkansas City is 1-5, 0-2 in league play, fell to unbeaten and top-ranked (Class 5A, West District) Goddard 44-21.
With two games remaining for each team, Newton is 11th in the 16-team Class 5A West District, while Arkansas City is 15th.
“I feel like we’ve had a good week of practice,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “We had a really good practice (Wednesday). The cold we’ve had this week have made conditions unique. The coaches have done a good job of coming up with good ideas for a game plan for this week. We’re excited to play Friday.”
Ark City opened the season with a 28-point loss to Campus, followed by a three-point win over Salina Central. The Bulldogs then lost three straight games that they were in, including a 10-point loss to rival Winfield, before the loss to Goddard.”
“They are fighters,” Jaax said. “They have been close in a lot of games. They are a team that we are going to have to be ready to play. They have a good quarterback, a good running back and a good receiver. They can do a lot of things. Their defense has done a good job of keeping scores low. They were down 14-7 to Maize going into the fourth quarter. The can definitely play with anybody.”
The Bulldogs are led by Cevin Clark, who has hit 57 of 119 passes for 772 yards with six touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Clark also has 83 carries for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Clark has hit 11 of 12 extra-point kicks and hit the sole field goal attempted, a 30-yarder.
Tryee Watkins has 55 carries for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Montez Robinson has 15 catches for 224 yards. Hunter O’Toole has 14 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Brautman has 10 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns.
Brice Nittler leads the defense with 58 total tackles, followed by Blake Watkins with 53 and Mick Bryant with 40. Nicholas Bahm has four sacks. Nate Spencer has two interceptions, while Nittler has recovered two fumbles.
Newton’s Colton Davis has hit 80 of 136 passes for 745 yards with five interceptions and four touchdowns. Davis also has 82 carries for 265 yards and five touchdowns. Isaiah Presley has 69 carries for 249 yards and four touchdowns. Jamieson Jones has 49 carries for 243 yards and two touchdowns, but will miss this week with an injury.
Hunter Mapes leads the receivers with 23 catches for 295 yards and two touchdowns.
Newton was slow to get the offense moving last week.
“I take responsibility for some of that,” Jaax said. “The defense started well and held them the first three times. Then they scored after a fumble. We gave up the momentum and then we got frustrated. This will be a character week for us. Last week, we didn’t show who we are. This week, we need to get back to playing our game.”
Newton has 21 seniors on the roster for senior night.
“We’re trying to turn the culture around and these guys have been a big part of that,” Jaax said. “This game will be a great opportunity for these guys.”