The long-anticipated home opener has finally arrived.
Playing its first two games on the road for the second time in three years, Derby (2-0) hosts Newton (1-1) at Panther Stadium on Friday night.
The Railers lost their top two running backs and multi-year starting quarterback Colton Davis, but still bring back eight starters this fall. They have put together back-to-back 3-6 seasons, but haven’t had a winning season in 10 years. Head coach Chris Jaax is entering his fourth season at Newton after spending 10 years at Bishop Carroll.
Newton is coming off an overtime win against Campus, 27-24, and Clark said he has seen marked improvement between its first two games.
“They’ve gotten a heck of lot better,” Clark said. “They’ve got the first game jitters out and they looked better [on Friday]. They’ve got a couple of kids on defense that are huge hitters and very good players … compared to week 1 to week 2 film, they’re clicking a whole lot more.”
The Railers have not fared well against the Panthers through Clark’s tenure, losing all three games (2018, 2015 and 2014) by 31 or more points. That includes last year’s 55-7 Derby win on their home field.
Friday night’s game will also serve as the annual Military Appreciation Night.
“We talk to our team all the time about serving others,” Clark said. “[This game] is about honoring the people that define service. I take great pride in this game because of that and we’re playing for them.”
Through two games, Derby couldn’t have asked for a much better start offensively. While each game has leaned toward either the run or pass statistically, Clark said he credits his coaching staff and players for taking what the defense delivers.
Salina Central held Adler to four rushing yards a week after he ran for 168 in the opener. The senior obliterated their secondary to the tune of 318 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Due to the passing attack in Salina, the Panthers now have a near even split of running and passing at 518 and 470 yards, respectively.
“Coach [Jarrod] Foster did a great job getting our receivers and passing game ready,” Clark said. “We had an idea of what we thought they’d do to us and most everything Coach presented is pretty much what they did. Our kids were ready for it and Grant knew his reads and did a good job.”
2019 DERBY FOOTBALL STATISTICS (THROUGH WEEK 2)
Grant Adler, 23-of-31 (74%), 410 yards, 6 TD
Lem Wash, 3-of-7, 65 yards, 1 TD
Tre Washington, 20 carries, 188 yards, 4 TD
Grant Adler, 16 carries, 172 yards, 3 TD
Lem Wash, 12 carries, 124 yards, 0 TD
Dylan Edwards, 5 carries, 40 yards, 0 TD
Jacob Karsak, 4 catches, 125 yards, 1 TD
Tre Washington, 6 catches, 107 yards, 4 TD
Cavion Walker, 4 catches, 90 yards, 0 TD
Davin Simms, 4 catches, 63 yards, 0 TD
Reid Liston, 5 catches, 59 yards, 0 TD
Brecken Kooser, 1 interception
Tanner Knox, 1 interception
988 yards of offense
518 rushing yards (259 ypg)
470 passing yards (235 ypg)
3rd down conversions: 8-for-14 (57%)
4th down conversions: 3-for-3 (100%)
Opponent total yards: 350
Opponent rushing yards: 64
Opponent passing yards: 286
Opponent 3rd down: 7-for-30 (23%)
Opponent 4th down: 5-for-9 (55%)