Saturday was far from the season opener Kevin Twait wanted for his Iowa Central football team.
The Tritons saw an early lead slip through the cracks, as College of DuPage left Dodger Stadium with a 13-6 victory.
For Iowa Central (0-1 overall), it marked a 16th consecutive defeat dating back to the 2015 season. This one, though, was right there for the taking.
Behind the scrambing of freshman quarterback Asher O’Hara, the Chaparrals scored the final 13 points and put together a 16-play drive late in the fourth quarter where they went 4-for-5 on third-down conversions.
“We just didn’t execute well,” Twait said. “We let (O’Hara) get away too many times, especially in key situations. He was elusive, but we didn’t tackle well and that is a bad combination.”
O’Hara completed 12 of 18 passes but only for 61 yards. Instead, it was his 17 carries that covered 81 yards that hurt a stingy Iowa Central defense.
“Our defense played well enough for us to win,” Twait said. “In college football, six points isn’t going to win you any games. We just couldn’t get our defense off the field, and when we did, we couldn’t sustain any drives.”
The Tritons ran just 17 plays from scrimmage over the final 30 minutes and had only two yards rushing and 32 yards passing during that time.
Freshmen quarterbacks Zach Parker and BJ Phillips split snaps, with Parker rushing for a team-high 27 yards and passing for another 24. Phillips completed all four of his attempts for 36 yards, with classmate Carlton Todd leading with four catches for 40 yards.
“We’ve got to be more explosive on offense, which means more runs over 12 yards and passes over 16,” Twait said. “I’m not sure if it was a lack of execution up front or if we got beat there, or if we didn’t execute on the perimeter. We’ll have to watch the film and make changes and improvements as coaches.
“Todd made some good plays for us and I thought both quarterbacks functioned well for their first games.”
Iowa Central’s longest run of the day came from Carter Downer on a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Phillips had the longest pass when he connected with Todd from 17 yards out.
“We just didn’t make plays and DuPage did,” Twait said. “Even special teams, where we are usually sharp, had trouble. We botched a snap and missed an extra-point. Those are blunders we just can’t have.”
Adam Valiga and Austin Bray connected on a touchdown pass following Downer’s score on a trick play, while Thiago Kapps kicked through 41 and 37 yard field goals for the other points for the Chaps. DuPage went 6-for-16 on third-down conversions, while the Tritons were 1 of 13.
Jack Buttjer and Jacob Giese each had sacks for the ICCC defense, while Jackson Martens had an interception. Freshman punter Tyreke Williams averaged over 51 yards on eight punts, including a long of 65.
Iowa Central welcomes No. 15 Dodge City next Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff at Dodger Stadium. The Conquistadors dropped their opener this past Thursday night to Highland, 26-21.
First Downs 7 16
Rushes-Yards 34-75 46-104
Passing 60 103
Comp-Att-Int 8-15-0 13-21-1
Total Offense 135 207
Punts-Avg. 8-51.3 7-39.1
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 4-0
Penalties-Yards 4-30 8-65
Iowa Central 0 6 0 0– 6
DuPage 0 10 0 3–13
Iowa Central — Carter Downer (14-yard run), 13:43 left in second. Kick failed.
College of DuPage — Adam Valiga (42-yard pass from Austin Bray), 13:20 left in second. Thiago Kapps kick.
College of DuPage — Kapps (41-yard field goal), 1:58 left in second.
College of DuPage — Kapps (37-yard field goal), :29 left in fourth.
Rushing — Iowa Central: Zach Parker 10-27, E’Quan Dorris 14-17, Carter Downer 5-16, BJ Phillips 2-12, Team 3-3. College of DuPage: Asher O’Hara 17-81, Quintin Brown 9-33, Fabias Shipman 6-17, Chris Baldwin 6-15, Austin Bray 3-1, Dominick Sidari 3-(minus-3), Team 2-(minus-40).
Passing — Iowa Central: Zach Parker 4-11-0-24, BJ Phillips 4-4-0-36. College of DuPage: Asher O’Hara 12-18-0-61, Austin Bray 1-2-0-42, Alex Alkevicius 0-1-1-0.
Receiving — Iowa Central: Carlton Todd 4-40, Ty Sohn 2-12, Roddrick Bryant 1-7, Chris McLeod 1-1. College of DuPage: Adam Valiga 1-42, Alex Daubon 3-14, DeShaun Davis 1-14, Josh Hill 1-12, Keith Dixon 1-8, Kenny Burnett 3-7, Dominick Sidari 1-6, Christian Harris 1-3, Fabias Shipman 1-(minus-3).