Curiosity in Newton football likely rose just before the start of preseason practice with Kansas’ scholarship offer to Kade Remsberg, the Railers’ speedy junior running back and defensive back.
And while the reigning Class 5A sprint champion presents a weapon few other teams can match, Remsberg is also one of many Railers determined to atone for a 2-7 season in 2014 that ended with six consecutive losses.
“We finished the season frustrated, I don’t think there’s another way to put it,” Newton coach Nate Wollenberg said. “I did not feel good about how we played the second half of last season.”
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The Railers gave up 42 points or more in four of their last five games and were shut out in the other. The overriding themes against the weekly gauntlet of Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League I teams were a need to play more physically and consistently.
“We felt like for two or three plays we’d have 11 guys going in the right place but we’d also have one or two where someone didn’t execute or wasn’t as physical as they needed to be,” Wollenberg said.
Newton may feature part of that solution with an experienced defensive line. Senior Josh Fulmer, a two-way returning starter, gives the Railers quickness at one end, while Aiden Mills, a 258-pound junior, provides size at the other side. Seniors Dustyn Ediger and Nic Parga, and 320-pound junior Kadin Thompson anchor the middle.
“I think we can be a pretty good defensive line,” Fulmer said. “And having Kade’s speed in the secondary, hopefully we can defend the pass better this year, too.”
Offensively, the Railers will have the advantage when they can get Remsberg in open space. Senior Luke Porter adds power to the running game, while the battle to replace departed quarterback Jack Kingsley includes senior Cole Koerner, junior Landon Moore and sophomore Warren Dietz.
“They are smart and any of them can step on the field in that role,” Wollenberg said. “We’ll be able to put one in that position and use the other two in spots where it just makes you feel a lot better.”