SALINA - You could tell from the pregame huddle just how much Salina South wanted this.
It had been 40 years since a Cougar football team had finished a season winless, that an 0-9 mark in 1978. This year's group, in front of a packed house on senior night, wasn't going to let that happen.
The first play from scrimmage for Newton resulted in a tip ball interception by Luke Streit. The ensuing drive, a tipped ball touchdown catch from David Ollenberger. It was like luck was on the sideline of the Cougars from the jump.
After forcing a fourth down stop, South again punched it into the endzone, this time on the legs of Brandt Cox to the tune of a 24 yard scamper.
The defensive show from South continued. Cai Calvert picked off Newton's Colton Davis deep in South territory. Three plays later, again it was the Terran Galloway to Ollenberger connection coming up big, this on a dime of a pass for the score.
After another Cougar pick would take the game to break at that 21-0 spread, Davis and the Railers turned it on. Shortly after the third quarter kicked off, Davis ran for the Railers first score. Davis again scored in the 4th to cut the lead to 21-13.
After Galloway ran for a score to get the lead back to two scores, it was again the South defense stepping up. Kamren Xaysongkham came through with a 70 yard scoop and score to ice it, the fourth Newton turnover giving Salina South their first win of 2018 in their final game, 35-13.
Salina South ends the year with a 1-7 record and will enter the Class 5A playoffs as the 16th seed in the West, with a tough trip to either Wichita Northwest or Maize waiting for them. Newton finishes with a 3-5 record, currently one of five teams in 5A with three wins to their name, and will await Friday's results before their next opponent is determined.