Newton football team makes final tune-up

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
A Newton player picks off a pass against Valley Center during a jamboree Saturday at McPherson. Newton opens the season Friday at Andover Central.

McPHERSON — The Newton High School football team had its final tune-up before the start of the regular season Saturday morning at a jamboree with McPherson and Valley Center at McPherson Stadium.

The jamboree was a modified scrimmage with one team on defense and the other two teams alternating on offense. Each team got to run about 36 plays on offense.

No scores or stats were kept.

A Newton player makes a catch during play in a pre-season jamboree Saturday.
A Newton defensive player pursues the McPherson quarterback during play at a jamboree Saturday in McPherson.

“We had a lot of good things and we have a lot of things we still need to work on,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “It makes for a game simulation. We just need to keep getting better. Obviously, there are some things we still need to correct. I felt like the kids played hard.”

After a couple of weeks practicing in high heat, the weather tempered for the jamboree.

“I think the kids handled the heat really well,” Jaax said. “They were out there in the sun. I thought we had some pretty good practices this week. We had to modify how much equipment we used and all those different things. Most days we still got a good practice in.”

Jaax did indicate his pleasure with the play of the offensive line.

“It went pretty well overall,” sophomore lineman Maxwell Masem said. “It was a good experience out here. It was nice playing against other teams instead of scrimmaging against ourselves in practice. I think we did pretty well. I was happy with what we accomplished on the O-line and the offense as a whole.”

“Having other teams here definitely helps a lot,” junior lineman Rio Gomez said. “It helps to see different fronts. That’s going to help us during the season. The offense was doing really well. Our run game did well. We need work in the passing game, but our run game was amazing today.”

A Newton defensive player recovers a fumble against Valley Center during play in a jamboree Saturday at McPherson.
The Newton defensive line lines up against Valley Center during play Saturday at the jamboree in McPherson.

McPherson was 10-2 last season, while Valley Center was 5-4, losing a playoff game by forfeit.

“Considering the teams we are going up against, I feel pretty positive in our ability to have a successful season this year,” Masem said. “We just have to prepare for Andover Central.”

“I believe we can have a winning record this year,” Gomez said. “We should do much better than last year. “We have to get in the mindset that we go out there with a job to do.”

Newton opens the season at 7 p.m. Friday at Andover Central.

“We just need to smooth things out,” Jaax said. “The kids need to play with confidence. They need to know what to do and to do those things with confidence. They need to play well, play fast and swing the hammer.”

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com