Andover Central Jaguars edge Newton Railers in battle of defenses in Week 1
The highlights — Andover Central: Ashton Barkdull rushed for 133 yards and the sole touchdown. Newton: Sophomore Colby Gomez announced his presence with authority, passing for 166 yards in his first start. Collin Hershberger nailed a pair of long field goals in a swirling wind. Hershberger finished the week with two goals, two assists on the soccer pitch and two field goals and a successful on-side kick on the gridiron.
The play — Newton was stopped on fourth and two on the Central 3 yard line with 5:56 to play.
The takeaway — For both teams, the end zone was elusive. The defenses stiffened up the closer the offenses got to the goal line. Central struggled with penalties. Newton struggled with consistency in the run game.
Up next — Newton: at Derby. The Panthers are 0-0. Their scheduled opener was canceled. The game opens the new Derby Panther Stadium. Andover Central: Buhler at home for homecoming. The Crusaders downed Goddard 42-14.
ANDOVER — It was a typical opening game for the Andover Central Jaguars and Newton Railers Friday night.
Both teams showed promise in a lot of areas and struggles in others. The difference was Ashton Barkdall was able to get into the endzone to lift Central to a 10-6 win.
“We are used to being down early in games, but we are a tough team,” Barkdall said. “We don’t get discouraged. Even when we’re down, it’s still 0-0 in our minds. We have to work on everything. We didn’t have anything run perfect tonight. We’re going to head to week two and try to improve next week.”
“We felt pretty pleased with how our kids fought and battled,” Central coach Derek Tuttle said. “Newton had some very good weapons with their running back, a quarterback who could run and throw. They hit a lot of short passes. They put together some nice drives, but our defense bent a little bit, but never broke. That says a lot of about our defense. They had the ball deep in our end of the field and only came away with a couple of field goals.”
The Railers were not without standout performances as sophomore Colby Gomez debuted by hitting 17 of 23 passes for 166 yards. The only thing the sophomore didn’t do was get the ball in the end zone.
“I was really nervous. It was nerve wracking,” Gomez said. “I felt like after the first play, I felt good. I didn’t have any nerves anymore. As the game progressed, my confidence was going up. We started to make plays. We did a good job of working up the field. We need to do a better job of capitalizing. We only go up. We all need to work on something. There were mistakes all around … but I felt like we were getting full effort today.”
“The kids played hard,” Newton coach Chris Jaax said. “The offense and defense both played hard. I was proud of them. The kids made stops in a lot of hard situations. We had a turnover at the 10-yard line. The defense came out and held them to a field goal. We forced a couple of other field goal (attempts). There are a lot of things can improve on. There are things we can build on. The bottom line is we have to score. We got on the two yard line and didn’t score.”
Newton recovered an on-side kick to start the game, setting up a 31-yard field goal. A penalty on Newton’s second possession took the Railers outside of the red zone, where Hershberger hit a 46-yard field goal.
Central took the lead when a 67-yard run by Barkdull set up a two-yard Barkdull touchdown run.
A Railer fumble on the second play of the third quarter set up a 26-yard Isaac Saye field goal. Newton had several chances to answer late in the game.
Andover Central 10, Newton 6
1q. N Hershberger 31-yd. field goal 7:29
1q. N Hershberger 46-yd. field goal :00
2q. AC Barkdull 2-yd. run (Saye kick) 10:56
3q. AC Saye 26-yd. field goal 9:59
Time of poss.;28:45;13:46
RUSHING — Newton: Forest 23-58, Gomez 7-(-3), team 1-(-4). Andover Central: Tabor 2-8, J.Rees 3-10, Barkdull 17-133, White 1-0, Kunz 4-4.
PASSING — Newton: Gomez 17-23-0, 166 yards. Andover Central: Kunz 9-15-0, 81 yards.
RECEIVING — Newton: Forest 1-11, Carr 3-36, Klug 3-44, Ruggerio 10-75. Andover Central: Tabor 1-(-3), Ek 3-29, Barkdull 4-27, Stupka 1-28.
Missed field goals — AC: Saye 35 (WL), 24 (WR).
Mark Schnabel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org