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Local Sports

Long signs to play Central College football

Submitted Photo
Newton High senior Kyle Long signs a national letter of intent to play football for Central College in Pella next year. On hand for the signing Tuesday were Long's parents, Jim and Sherri Long of Newton.
Submitted Photo Newton High senior Kyle Long signs a national letter of intent to play football for Central College in Pella next year. On hand for the signing Tuesday were Long's parents, Jim and Sherri Long of Newton.

Kyle Long has honed his skills as a quarterback from his flag football days right through being a two-year starting quarterback for Newton High’s Cardinals.

Long signed a national letter of intent on Tuesday to play football for Central College in Pella next year. He will be vying for playing time at quarterback for the Dutch.

“I’ve had a great passion for football ever since I was old enough to catch a ball as my dad was always throwing it to me,” Long said. “I fell in love with the sport when I played flag football in first grade. Playing for Newton has been a great experience and the culture here has been awesome.”

Long said when he visited Central College, he saw that same kind of culture present in the Dutch program. He said he got to meet all the guys on the team and the coaching staff.

“They are super passionate about what they do there. It’s a program I wanted to be a part of and knew it was the opportunity I wanted to play college football,” Long said.

Central’s head coach is Jeff McMartin, who has been at the helm of the Dutch program for 16 years. The Dutch went 10-2 overall in 2019, losing in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Central finished 7-1 in American Rivers Conference action.

Long was a two-year starting quarterback for Newton’s varsity after guiding the Cardinal junior varsity one season and was the freshman team quarterback. In varsity play, Long completed 108 of 217 passes for 1,658 yards and threw 13 touchdown passes and was intercepted 10 times.

“Quarterback is the only position I’ve ever played since flag football. I love knowing you are the one who is able to make the big plays and also if a play goes wrong you take the responsibility for that,” Long said. “I love the position. I’ve grown to love that sense of responsibility as a leader for your team.”

Long earned Class 3A District 7 honorable mention honors for his senior season guiding the Cardinal gun-rocket offense, which is a run-first type of system. He finished third in the district in passing — 62-of-127 for 930 yards. He had nine touchdown passes and threw six interceptions. He also rushed for 305 yards on 85 carries with one TD.

He also earned All-District 7 Academic honors. Newton was 3-6 overall and 1-4 in district play.

In a 19-13 non-district win over Boone, Long had two touchdown passes including a 46-yard strike to give Newton a 12-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Long had a TD pass and a 64-yard TD run in the Cardinals’ lone district victory, 56-21 over South Tama County.

In his first year as Newton’s starter he ran for 130 yards on 56 carries and five TDs as the Cardinals went 5-4 in his junior campaign. Newton was one of the leading rushing teams in the state — for Class 3A and 4A — over four years.

“At Newton, we run a very unique offense so anywhere I went I expected it to be different,” Long said. “Central runs more of a spread offense which I believe I’m more suited to run. I believe my passing ability is my strong suit so Central is a good fit.”

Long will be under the tutelage of Ryan Maiuri, Central’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Maiuri has held that position since 2015 and in 2019, the Dutch had 3,448 passing yards and 2,256 yards rushing.

“I love the camaraderie you build with teammates in football. Over the past four years, I’ve grown so close to an amazing group of guys. I can call those guys my friends for a lifetime and not many can say that about a group of more than 60 or 70 guys,” Long said.

“The game itself is so exhilarating. There’s no better feeling than running out on the field with the guys on a Friday night or any other night. I love the game and it’s part of my life.”

Long, who is 6-foot and weighing 185 pounds now, said with the coronavirus health crisis shutting off access to the Newton High weight room, he has been working on his own during the quarantine. He said he emailed Central College’s strength coach and received the Dutch’s off-season workout plan.

“It’s a six-week plan for five days a week. I do that and I also have my own workouts. I’ve gone to the stadium and been throwing the ball to several Newton guys who have run pass routes for me,” Long said. “I’ve been hiking a lot and doing some fun activities also.”

Long is the son of Jim and Sherri Long of Newton. He plans to major in business and obtain a minor degree in entrepreneurship.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535

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