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Newton heads north for date with Salina South
With a win, the Railers would improve to .500.
Embarking on consecutive road trips, the Newton High School football team will take the hour-long trip north on I-135 to face Salina South (0-5) on Friday for AVCTL-I action.
“You know, with a team like Salina South who’s been struggling this season, [head coach Sam Sellers] will have them prepared,” Newton head coach Greg Slade said on this week’s Railer Report Coach’s Show. “We’ve gotta come out and play hard from the beginning. If we take care of our business early, I think we’ll be a little more successful.”
The Railers (2-3) enter the contest fresh off a 26-0 road win over AVCTL-II opponent Arkansas City. The Cougars enter winless after a 57-14 loss on the road to 5A No. 7 Hutchinson.
Here’s everything you need to know about this showdown.
Location: District Stadium (Salina)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Weather: 56 degrees. Sunny and clear. 0% chance of rain.
Spread (via the Esch Index): Newton (-26)
What’s at stake?
For both of these teams, there’s plenty to play for, albeit for vastly different reasons. With a Newton win, the Railers would improve to 3-3 and sport a .500 mark for the first time since 2014. If Salina South comes out victorious, the Cougars will snap a 20-game losing streak that extends back to Sep. 17, 2021 — when they defeated Haysville-Campus away, 36-14.
Similarly to last week, Slade mentioned on the Coach’s Show that it will be vital for Newton to start quickly, build an early lead, and put Salina South away. As the old adage goes, the scariest thing you can give an underdog is hope, and there haven’t been (and likely won’t be) many instances in which the Railers are expected to win by a comfortable margin.
With that in mind, look for the Newton offense to open the game by attacking downhill, utilizing the tough running of quarterback Colby Gomez and running back James Hulse which has quickly become the team’s identity. Given the current playoff picture (the Railers sit 13th in 5A West), making up ground on point differential — which is currently -24 — would go a long way in improving Newton’s first-round matchup.
Players to watch
Newton: WR Ryder Mapes. On the Coach’s Show, Slade mentioned the possibility of increasing the sophomore’s workload after rushing for a combined 123 yards over the last two games. His speed provides balance.
Salina South: RB Carson Power. As the senior goes, so goes the Cougar offense. According to MaxPreps, Power has rushed for 470 yards on 99 carries this season with 99 yards receiving on just eight receptions.
Facts and figures
In 21 meetings since 1998, Newton is 3-18 against Salina South. The Railers have won their last three games against the Cougars. … This season, Newton is averaging 14.4 points per game. Salina South is averaging 16.4. … Newton has allowed 21.8 points per game in 2023. Salina South has allowed 50.8. … Newton has the 23rd-ranked total offense and 15th-ranked total defense in 5A. Salina South ranks 26th and 30th in those categories, respectively.
Esch Index projection: Newton 42, Salina South 16