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Newton travels to Hutchinson for rivalry clash
The Railers hope to capture their 21st win of the series.
Friday night, the Newton High School football team will travel west on Highway 50 for a showdown with Hutchinson (0-1) at Gowans Stadium on the campus of Hutchinson Community College.
In 2022, the Salthawks defeated the Railers (0-1) in the latest installment of the rivalry, 32-27. “They return a lot on defense,” Newton head coach Greg Slade said on this week’s episode of the Railer Report Coach’s Show. “Their defense did not give up a touchdown [last week]. … They have a young quarterback who is very athletic. … They’ll be ready to go.”
Here’s a rundown of the first ACVTL-I matchup of the season for both squads.
Location: Gowans Stadium at Hutchinson Community College
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Weather: 89 degrees. Sunny and clear. 0% chance of rain.
Spread (via the Esch Index): Hutchinson (-19)
What’s at stake?
In their 76th meeting since 1944, both Newton and Hutchinson will be vying for their first win in 2023. Last week, the Railers lost to Valley Center, 20-6, while the Salthawks were defeated 7-3 by Goddard Eisenhower.
Newton will be looking to get out from under Hutchinson’s shadow — a win for the Salthawks would mark their fourth consecutive over the Railers and first at home in four seasons. Newton has avoided falling to 0-2 after starting 0-1 just once in seven tries since 2014.
A season ago, Newton found success through the air against an always-stout Hutchinson defense. Quarterback Colby Gomez passed for 287 yards and a touchdown on 37 attempts, which could prompt the Railer offense to attack the Salthawk secondary and utilize their suddenly inexperienced receiving corps (senior Dellen Claassen is out for the season with a broken collarbone). It could be a much-needed jumpstart after a lackadaisical season opener.
Players to watch
Newton: WRs CJ Buffalo and George Bates. As mentioned, these are the two primary pass-catchers who will be working in tandem to fill the void left by Claassen’s absence. Slade praised the performance of both juniors last week.
Hutchinson: QB Robert Hunter. The sophomore made the switch to signal-caller during the offseason after appearing in varsity games as a freshman slotback in 2022. He’ll lead an offense that struggled in the season opener.
Facts and figures
Newton is 20-52-3 against Hutchinson in 75 meetings since 1944. … In week one, Hutchinson tallied 258 yards of offense (222 rushing, 36 passing) to Newton’s 107 yards (68 rushing, 39 passing). … The average final score margin between these two teams in their last five matchups is 8.6.
Esch Index projection: Hutchinson 19, Newton 0