Tritons stumble in Homecoming tilt

Iowa Central head football coach Kevin Twait felt great heading into Sunday’s Homecoming game vs. Fort Scott.

In a matter of minutes, though, that all changed, as the Greyhounds scored back-to-back defensive touchdowns to start the third quarter, claiming a 51-7 victory here inside Dodger Stadium.

Twait, who has graced the Iowa Central sidelines for 21 seasons now, believed all of the prep work put in over the past several days had the Tritons (0-7 overall) ready to claim their first win of the season.

“Just a disappointing performance,” Twait said. “It was Homecoming, we had a great crowd on a perfect day, and I believed we had the kids ready to go. This is just a disappointing day for the players, coaches and everyone associated with this program.

“At halftime, we were sitting there down 27-7, and while that is not an easy hole to dig out of, we were getting the ball to start the second half and we felt if we could put one in the end zone, we could make it a game.”

That, though, didn’t happen, as Fort Scott (3-3) recovered a fumble on the kickoff and Lane Moran scooped it up and returned it 24 yards for a score. Just over two minutes later, Quinton Jordan picked off a pass and darted 30 yards for another touchdown.

“And just like that, we are down 41-7,” Twait said. “We just are not an explosive enough team to battle back at that point. We few explosive plays as runs over 12 yards and pass completions over 16. We are not getting enough of those, and we are giving up far too many.

“Add that in with our inability to run the football and (the Greyhounds) scoring twice on defense, and that made for a very long day.”

Fort Scott, which was coming off a 27-20 setback to Coffeyville last week, piled up 375 yards of offense. Nathan Rourke was 18 of 23 passing for 235 and two touchdowns to Chris Claybrooks, while adding a 3-yard TD run himself.

Claybrooks finished with seven catches for 80 yards, all of which came in the first quarter. The Greyhounds were 4 of 15 on third-down attempts, but did force four turnovers and recorded four sacks.

“We knew after watching film that (Fort Scott) was a very good team,” Twait said. “They really dominate you in the trenches. Against Coffeyville, they just gave up some big special teams plays.

“As much as we want to blame ourselves, we have to give Fort Scott credit for playing a very good game.”

Paul Campbell connected with Roddrick Bryant for the lone Triton score, finding him for a 3-yard TD pass and catch in the second quarter. Campbell, who was under pressure all day, finished 18 of 44 for 176 yards. Chris McLeod was the leading receiver, hauling in five catches for 86.

Iowa Central struggled to move the ball on the ground, finishing with just 20 yards rushing from the backs. With sacks and two costly mistakes on punt attempts factored in, the Tritons rushed 27 times for negative-16 yards.

“This is college football,” Twait said. “And we hit the up-man on two punt attempts. Now, we’ve had to move some guys around because of personnel issues, but that is inexcusable.

“Those two mistakes led to 10 points and that is something we cannot afford to do.”

Iowa Central has a week off before returning to the field Oct. 22 back in Kansas vs. Coffeyville (3-3). They have two home dates left vs. Iowa Western (3-3) on Oct. 29 and Butler (3-3) Nov. 12, with a trip to third-ranked Garden City (6-0) sandwiched between them.

“We have to figure out what we can do to circle the wagons here and close out strong,” Twait said. “I am confident these kids will come back and be ready to go (vs. Coffeyville).”