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Team effort leads depleted Newton to 34-14 win over Salina South
The Railers eclipse .500 for the first time since 2014 as Gomez and Edwards step up on opposite sides of the ball.
SALINA — With lead running back James Hulse out with a season-ending broken collarbone, Newton (3-3) had to spread the wealth on Friday night against Salina South (0-6) in its return to AVCTL-I action.
And after 48 minutes, four different rushers tallied 35 or more yards on at least four carries each as the Railers took care of business on the road, leaving District Stadium with a 34-14 victory.
The result marked Newton’s fourth straight over the Cougars and second straight this season. It also means the Railers have a .500 record for the first time in nine years. Colby Gomez — who started both ways at quarterback and safety — was once again the X-factor for Greg Slade’s team, accounting for 168 yards of total offense with two passing and two rushing touchdowns.
“We got a lot of our subs in,” Newton head coach Slade said. “And we needed to. We’re a little beat up right now. But we came out, did what we need to do, got a couple of turnovers. … We’re gonna keep battling.”
Newton led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a 60-yard hookup between Gomez and Kamden Wise, who found himself all alone in the Salina South secondary just over a minute into the game.
The key play you likely forgot: On the ensuing drive, the Cougars moved down to the Railer 25-yard line before quarterback Landon Putman’s pass fell incomplete on fourth down. Newton took advantage, driving over 75 yards to extend its lead to 13-0 early in the second quarter on a Gomez sneak.
The turning point: Salina South fumbled two plays after the corresponding kickoff and Gomez threw it up for Keon Edwards three snaps later, who outjumped the defender and ran untouched for a 33-yard trip to paydirt.
Newton then immediately recovered its own kickoff and scored in six plays, the first being a 21-yard pass from Gomez to Cole Dillon and the sixth being a six-yard run by Gomez. Before the Cougars could even blink, the Railers had built a 27-0 advantage 18 minutes into the contest.
“Colby had a pretty good game offensively and defensively. [Gomez] is just beat up, but he’s a tough kid. We had a kid out on defense and he had to step up and play defense.”
That defense was able to pitch seven straight shutout quarters going back to last week’s win over Arkansas City, maintaining the 27-0 Railer lead heading into the fourth quarter. In total, the unit forced two turnovers, one the aforementioned fumble and the other an interception by safety Niko Ramos.
Salina South, though, would end the streak when running back Carson Power scampered across the goal line from 16 yards out. Ryder Mapes — who started at running back in place of Hulse — responded for Newton just over three minutes later with a 10-yarder to make it 34-7.
The Cougars were able to tack on another with under four minutes on the clock in regulation. When the clock hit zeroes, the Railers made more history and Salina South’s losing streak extended to 21 games.
“I mean, that's huge,” Slade said when asked about the prospect of being over .500 with a win against Haysville-Campus next week. “We’ve gotta chance to be 4-3 after next week — and that puts a lot different look on the Derby game.”
The typically defense-focused Edwards led Newton in rushing with 52 yards on nine carries. “Keon stepped up for us offensively,” Slade said. Dillon added 38 yards on four attempts, Mapes had 35 yards on nine rushes. Wise led the team in receiving with 71 yards on three catches.
For the Cougars, Putman went 17-of-38 for 179 yards passing and a pick. Power had 33 yards and a pair of rushing scores on nine attempts.
Full offensive statistics:
Looking ahead: Newton squares off with Haysville-Campus at Fischer Field Stadium on Senior Night. The Colts are 1-5 after a 49-21 loss to 5A No. 7 Hutchinson. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Oct. 13.