McPHERSON — The Newton High School boys soccer team controlled the ball for most of the first half, but had no goals to show for it on a rainy season opener Saturday morning in McPherson.
With the game tied at zero, the Railers came out in the second half, made adjustments, and were able to score three goals to open the season with a 3-0 victory over the Bullpups.
The game was not as lopsided as the final score indicated, as two of Newton’s three goals came in the final two minutes of the game.
"We didn’t really challenge the goalkeeper much in the first half, but I thought we came out on the wet turf and were able to control the ball better than the other team," Newton head coach Scott Jantzi said. "I was very impressed how we came out at after halftime, made our adjustments, and created more opportunities in the second half."
McPherson, who broke in seven new starters after graduating eight seniors, has some work to do, but head coach Chris Adrian is confident the Bullpups will be able to pick it up offensively as the season progresses.
"It wasn’t a 3-0 game. Down 1-0 with 10 minutes left, we made a decision to throw more bodies forward, and we knew we were either going to score or we were going to give up a goal," Adrian said. "It was a chance we had to take because we saw we were struggling to create chances on the attack. We knew we had to take a risk, and in the end a loss is the same whether it’s 1-0 or 3-0."
Newton’s Joel Franz broke the scoreless tie with a goal in front of the net off a nice centering pass from Santiago Fernandez.
Fernandez added to his point total with a nice left-footed goal with 1:50 remaining, and Mikey Parga added one more for good measure 38 seconds later.
"We always come to Mac or they came to our place, and it’s always a tough game," Jantzi said. "It’s usually a very emotional game, and to be able to come out with a 3-0 win, it’s a very nice feeling for these seniors because it’s the first time these seniors have been able to beat Mac."
Newton held a 4-2 advantage in shots on goal. Newton goalie Selvin Abrego made two saves for the shutout, while McPherson keeper Kelvin Peterson made one save.
Newton also had five corner-kick opportunities while the Bullpups had none.
"We had a couple good looks, but when we get chances in front of the net, we have to be hungry to score," Adrian said."Our guys never back down. There were some bright spots, but today definitely showed us what we need to work on."
Newton is back in action this Tuesday at home against Goddard, while McPherson travels to Salina South on Tuesday.