By Blake Spurney
NEWTON – The Newton Railers seemed poised to pull out a late victory against visiting Hutchinson.
The Salthawks had scored midway through the fourth quarter to pull within 27-26, and Newton blocked the extra-point attempt. All the Railers had to do was eat clock after the ensuing kickoff. Newton drove from its own 17 deep into Hutchinson territory. As the clock neared the three-minute mark, the Railers faced fourth-and-2 at the 10. The Salthawks held firm and took over at their own 9.
The Railers held Hutchison to three short gains before quarterback Nic Lange found Noah Khokhar wide own down the left flat, and he raced the final 50 yards untouched to give the Salthawks a 32-27 victory.
Head coach Greg Slade told his players how proud he was of their effort. He also told them how close they were to turning the corner on their season’s fortunes.
“Kids fought hard, and I’m very positive,” he said.
Newton capitalized on several Hutchinson miscues to keep the outcome in doubt. None was bigger than Dylan McBee’s punt return for a touchdown on a broken play. Facing fourth-and-long on their own 36, the Salthawks lined up in punt formation. McBee said he came up to fill after seeing the bad snap. The line-drive punt went right at him.
“It was just all automatic, on auto-pilot,” he said. “Just trying to win the game.”