Railers looking to build on momentum

Mark Schnabel
mschnabel@thekansan.com
Newton High School quarterback Ben Schmidt reached the 2,000-yard passing mark last week in a 42-41 Railer win over Salina South. Newton ends the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Campus.

After a killer schedule to start the season, the Newton High School football team finally broke through with one in the win column last week.

The Railers will look to make it two in a row at 7 p.m. Friday at Campus.

Newton, 1-6, stopped a late two-point conversion to down Salina South 42-41 last week. Campus is 1-4, falling to Hutchinson 42-28 last week. The sole win for the Colts was 37-32 in the first week of the season against Salina Central.

Campus is 14th in the Class 6A West region standings.

The Railer win came despite a depleted roster as a number of players were quarantined because of COVID-19

“We’ve had some good practices,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “We’re trying to get some kids healthy. We got a lot of kids coming back, but we’re still going to be down some kids because of COVID-19. That’s a little disappointing. We’ll still be down a couple starters.

“We needed (the win). Sometimes, it takes a little time to get the train going, but we got it going.”

A key to last week was winning the turnover battle. Newton posted four interceptions and two fumbles.

“A lot of times, we put them in third and long,” Jaax said. “A lot of those turnovers came when they were going for it on fourth down. We put a lot of pressure on them and put them in bad situations, they’re more likely to make mistakes. You put them behind the chains. Jonah Remsberg made some huge plays. Late in the game. We did not look good in the first quarter. In the second quarter, things got going.”

Top players for Campus include quarterback Braelyn Jay, running back Remey Buckles and receiver Tayton Rico.

“They have a very good offense,” Jaax said. “They have put up a lot of points against a lot of people. The run the flexbone. We have to do a better job of defending that than we did against Hutch. Defensively, they minimize big plays and make you work to get your yards.”

Newton quarterback Ben Schmidt crossed the 2,000-yard passing threshold last week, hitting 142 of 155 passing for 2,053 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Kenyon Forest has 135 carries for 573 yards rushing and six touchdowns, along with 237 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Peyton Maxwell has 50 catches for 905 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Maxwell also threw for two touchdowns on just two attempts. Xzavion Martin has 28 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns.

The defense is led by Dehann Nelson with 48 total tackles, 10 for a loss. Nick Antonowich has 45 total tackles.

“Offensively, we have to come out better and be able to run the ball,” Jaax said. “It took us a whole quarter to be able to run the ball. We have to establish that earlier on. Defensively, we have to slow down their run game so they’re not in second-and-5. We want them in second and long or third in long. That’s hard to do in the flexbone. Their running back can make things happen.”

Newton enters the final week of the regular season in 16th in the Class 5A West region standings. If there are no changes after this week, Newton would travel to Maize next week for the first round of the playoffs. Newton fell to Maize 34-27 in the third week of the season.

“It’s probably going to be Maize or (Wichita) Northwest,” Jaax said. “We need to get W. If we get a W, it’s probably Maize. If both teams win, Northwest will get the first seed because of the way they’re calculating it. It doesn’t show (on the KSHSAA website). Our kids know they can play with anybody. We came as close as anybody to beating Maize.”

Around the AV-CTL I: Week 8

Maize (7-0) at Hutchinson (6-1)

The winner of of the game wins the AV-CTL I title.

Maize downed Derby 36-35, while Hutchinson downed Campus 42-28.

Maize leads the Class 5A West district standings and will wrap up the top seed in the district with a win. Hutchinson is fourth in the district and can wrap up a first-round home playoff game with a win.

For Maize, Avery Johnson has 1,177 passing yards and eight touchdowns and 146 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Josh Sanders has 1,070 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns and 205 receiving yards and a touchdown. Jacob Hanna has 427 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Maize South (4-2) at Derby (3-2)

Derby fell to Maize 36-35 last week, giving up a touchdown with 2:11 left in regulation. It was Derby’s first league loss in 36 games, going back to the season opener in 2013. It’s the first time the Panthers lost two games in a season since 2017.

Derby is fourth in the Class 6A West district standings and clinch a home playoff spot with a win.

Maize South knocked off previously unbeaten Hays 21-20 last week. The Mavericks can lock up third place in the league with a win.

Maize South is seventh in the Class 5A West district standings and can lock up a home playoff game with a win.

Lem Wash leads Derby with 578 passing yards with six touchdowns and 553 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Dylan Edwards has 788 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns, along with 157 receiving yards with a touchdown. Reid Liston has 195 yards receiving with two touchdowns.

Non-League

Salina South (1-5) at Salina Central (1-6)

This will be the first time for years, possibly in the history of the two schools, the battle of Salina won’t be a league game. It still holds importance in terms of playoff seeding.

South fell to Newton 42-41 last week, failing to convert a late two-point conversion. Central fell to Goddard 36-18. South is 14th in in the 16-team district, while Central is 15th.