JOLIET - The Iowa Central football team has solidified a few things and is ready to step it up a notch as they hit the road for the first time this season.
The Tritons (1-0 overall, 1-0 Midwest Football Conference) will travel to Joliet (1-1, 1-1) today for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Iowa Central earned a hard fought 9-0 victory over Rock Valley last week, where they committed a few mistakes, but came out with a victory none the less.
''We stayed pretty positive,'' said Iowa Central head coach Kevin Twait. ''We played with passion and a lot of fight.
''I think a lot of it was lack of experience and as coaches I don't think we did a good job of prepping for Rock Valley. They changed some things up that we weren't ready for. So we take a good share of the blame of the effectiveness in the red zone.''
The Tritons may have shown a few signs of pre-game jitters, but the offensive ground attack didn't for the most part.
Iowa Central rushed for 279 yards on the ground. Sophomore back David Ferris was the workhorse, carrying the ball 36 times for 152 yards and a five-yard score.
But, the part that concerned Twait the most was the Tritons troubles in the red zone. Iowa Central was 1-for-5 inside the 20-yard line where they turned the ball over three times on downs and once on a fumble.
''We didn't do a good job in the red zone,'' Twait said. ''It was frustrating for offensive squad and our coaching staff, but one reason we pitched a shutout was because our offense had the ball so much.''
The bright spot for Iowa Central, however, was the defense. The Tritons recorded nine sacks and forced three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception).
''We are proud to have pitched a shutout,'' Twait said. ''We had a great goal line stance at the end and tackled sharp and crisp.
''Our defensive line controlled the game.''
But after a week of solid practice and a long look at the game film, Twait and the Tritons are ready to go against a strong Joliet team.
''We put the wind behind us and are ready to go,'' Twait said. ''We worked on a lot of things.
''The biggest thing for me, was how hard we played. We layed it on the line.''
Iowa Central and Joliet have played some tight contests the last three seasons, with the Tritons pulling out four victories.
Three years ago, Iowa Central won by 11 points as they returned two punts for touchdowns.
Two years ago the Tritons won by five and then earned a 31-19 win in a bowl game.
Last season Iowa Central squeaked out a 14-10 win after building a 14-0 lead.
The Wolves picked up a 23-17 victory over DuPage in overtime last week.
Tom Lynch forced overtime with a 36-yard field goal and quarterback Chris Walley threw for 157 yards and scored the game winner with a five-yard run.
''They (Joliet) are extremely physical,'' Twait said. ''They average about 317 pounds per offensive lineman. They have a 6-7, 6-5 wide receiver and 6-6 tight end. That's a concern for us, with our defensive backs going 5-9, 5-8 and 5-11.''
Joliet's win over DuPage was Jeremy Richardson's first as head coach of the Wolves. Twait has 85 victories with the Tritons.
Contact Chris Johnson at (515) 573-2141 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org