Despite a possible school record performance from Newton High School quarterback Ben Schmidt, the Railers once again fell short against a state final four team, falling to Maize 34-27 Friday night in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I play at K.T. Woodman Stadium in Maize.
The Eagles, led by running back Josh Sanders’ 283 rushing yards and two touchdowns, improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Newton drops to 0-3, 0-2 in state play. All three losses came against final four teams.
"I was disappointed. We made mistakes," Newton coach Chris Jaax said. "We have to get them corrected. I was proud of the way the kids fought. They showed they have some stuff in them, but we have to find a way to finish the game."
Avery Johnson hit 12 of 19 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown. Johnson also rushed for a touchdown. Jacob Hanna had seven catches for 125 yards and a score.
Ben Schmidt hit 37 of 55 passes for 486 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Peyton Maxwell had 14 catches for 188 yards and a score. Xzavion Martin had nine catches for 174 yards. Kenyon Forest rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns.
"(Ben Schmidt) made a ton of great reads," Jaax said. "We just made some mistakes at bad times, and that cost us."
Maize scored on its first three possessions. The second score was set up by a Kyle Grill interception. Between the second and third scores, Newton scored on a five-yard pass from Ben Schmidt to Maxwell, set up by a 68-yard Xzavion Martin reception.
Newton’s added a 24-yard Collin Hershberger field goal attempt. Newton’s first defensive stop came on a bad snap during a Maize field goal attempt. The Railers took advantage, scoring on a two-yard Forest run.
Maize made a long drive that stalled out on the Railer 9, where Cole Segraves hit a 25-yard field goal. Newton moved the ball all the way to the Maize 27, where Hershberger hit a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, getting the Railers within four.
A Maize fumble early in the third quarter set up a 72-yard, nine-play drive that ended with a four-yard Forest run.
Maize came up with a 45-yard drive that set up a 38-yard Segraves field goal.
A pair of sacks and a bad punt snap gave Maize the ball at the Newton 38 early in the fourth quarter. The Railer defense stopped the Eagles on downs.
Starting on its own 12, Maize went 88 yards in five plays, scoring on a 38-yard Sanders run with 7:14 to play.
Newton got to the Maize 6, but a 15-yard taunting penalty took the ball to the 21. Grill then intercepted the ball on the 18. Newton got the ball back on its own 22 with 2:41 to play. Cayden Hughbanks intercepted a pass with 1:26 to play. Maize recovered a fumble at the end of the play.
"(The 15-yard penalty at the 6) was bad," Jaax said. "We had another penalty when we were third and goal at the line and we had a false start. We had a punt with a bad snap. The defense did play well after that."
Newton returns to the road Friday to take on 3-0 Hutchinson. The Salt Hawks edged Maize South 34-33 for their best start in several years.
"We have to figure some things out, there’s no way around it," Jaax said. "We have to figure out a way to win. We’re right there. We’ll get it done."