The Newton High School football team will have its hands full this week when the 1-1 Railers take on the consensus top-ranked Derby Panthers at 7 p.m. Friday night at Fischer Field.
Newton is coming off a 29-20 loss to Campus last week, while 2–0 Derby took apart a vastly improved Salina Central squad 63-0 last week. The Panthers led 55-0 at the half.
“We talked about needing to grow and to get better,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “We told them to try and not get disappointed or frustrated with a loss. We had a decent week of practice. The energy improved as the week went on. We’re getting better and making progress.
“Derby is obviously a phenomenal team. Everyone knows how good they are. They have had a running clock in both games they have played this season. They have held their opponents to about 20 yards rushing. We’re really going to have to execute well. It’s not about finding chinks in their armor. It’s about us executing. We have to play hard. We have to make plays. If we do that, things can snowball our way.”
Derby is led by quarterback Grant Adler, who has hit 11 of 19 passes for 128 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Adler also has 12 rushes for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Tre Washington has 22 carries for 187 yards and six touchdowns.
Derby has been able to find a number of receivers this season.
Isaac Keener leads the defense with 15 total tackles, three sacks and seven tackles for a loss. The Derby defense has four interceptions and has recovered two fumbles.
“They are very aggressive on defense,” Jaax said. “On offense, the run the ball a lot. They like to throw vertical. Their quarterback is a good runner. Their running back is a good runner. They have some big receivers that are hard to cover. They do a lot of things like we do. Their special teams player is very good. Their special teams really make a difference in the game and they can make things snowball fast.”
For Newton, Colton Davis has hit 27 of 55 passes for 277 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions. Davis has 36 carries for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Jamieson Jones has 27 carries for 105 yards.
Josh Edson has five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. Peyton Maxwell has two catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Garcia has 12 total tackles, followed by Jerik Ochoa with eight. Nick Antonowich has two interceptions.
“We need to be able to run the ball,” Jaax said. “We need to make first downs and avoid three-and-outs. On defense, we need to be sure tacklers. When we have the opportunity to make plays, we need to take advantage. We need to play aggressively, especially on defense.”
Jaax said receiver Boone Roberson and lineman Brett Ashcraft will be out because of injuries.