By Blake Spurney
Even after surrendering two pick-sixes and getting flagged for two personal fouls on special teams, the Newton Railers stayed within reach until the final horn before losing 41-34 to Andover Central.
Senior wide receiver Peyton Maxwell turned in a superb performance with 10 receptions for 195 yards and two touchdowns. He even threw for one when he connected with Kenyon Forest on a 47-yard score late in the second quarter.
The game was chock full of big plays on both sides and Newton dug itself a 24-6 deficit in the second quarter before rallying.
“We had a big plays; they had a lot of big plays,” head coach Chris Jaax said. “I thought we were going to get one more and win the game, but it didn’t turn out that way.”
Maxwell had the first big play when he made a fingertip catch for 41 yards to set up first and goal. He immediately went down screaming in agony.
“Right as he threw that ball, my right leg started cramping up and I just kept running,” Maxwell said. “I was glad I was in bounds.”
Three plays later, Maxwell scored his first touchdown on a pass from quarterback Ben Schmidt. On the Railers’ next series, Andover Central scored on a 61-yard interception return. Maxwell seemingly shifted the momentum back in Newton’s favor when he returned a kickoff to the Andover 8. The long return was waved off for an illegal blindside block.
Maxwell said Luke Hirsh created a path for him and he just saw green. Jaax said Maxwell already had gone past the other block that drew a penalty, but he said it was a good call.
A more questionable call came a short time later when Davis Mick was flagged for roughing the kicker. The snap went over the punter’s head and Mick hit the punter just as he got rid of the ball on a broken play.
Still, the Railers drew within 24-20 at halftime when Ben Schmidt connected with Jake Schmidt. Maxwell scored on a 49-yard reception on Newton’s next possession.
“I just think we have a special connection,” Maxwell said about his connection with Schmidt. “Since he and I were freshmen, it’s been me at receiver and him at quarterback.”
“He’s just got a good instinct for running routes,” Jaax said. “He’s hard to cover. He just does a lot of good things with his shoulders and thighs to mislead defenders.”
Maxwell said he and Schmidt worked out together often over the summer at Fischer Field in an effort to improve their games. He also said he felt pretty banged up and might have dislocated his thumb. Yet, he’ll be ready for Derby this Friday at home.