Triton trio named to NJCAA All-American team
Three Iowa Central football players earned elite junior college honors recently, as Le’Vonte Larry, Tyreke Williams and Tim Butcher were named NJCAA All-Americans.
Larry and Williams were first team honorees, with Butcher securing honorable-mention status.
Long-time head coach Kevin Twait announced his retirement from the program following an upset of then-No. 7 Butler in the regular season finale. Jesse Montalto, the former Ellsworth head coach, has since been hired as his replacement.
“It’s a real special honor to have three players recognized,” Twait said. “All three of them excelled for us and were such important pieces to what we wanted to do this season.”
Larry, a transfer from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, led the nation in pass breakups with 26. He also made 105 tackles, which was the ninth-most in the country.
“Le’Vonte really came on over the last eight games for us, playing some really good football,” Twait said. “In the 22 years I was (head coach), he’s as good of defensive back and special teams player as I’ve had. He was just outstanding in coverage.
“He is a tough-nosed corner that wasn’t afraid to hit. His skills in coverage are also top-notch.”
Twait said that Larry plans to earn his degree this spring before moving on to continue playing football.
“He redshirted (at Chattanooga), so he’ll graduate and have three years to play,” Twait said. “He’s looking at some FCS and Div. II schools right now.”
Williams, a freshman, averaged 42.9 yards per punt, including an 85-yard boot that was the longest in the country. He had 79 punts on the season, which also led the NJCAA.
Since 2011, Iowa Central has had a punter earn All-American honors every season.
“Tyreke was just off the charts,” Twait said. “He really flipped the field for us all year, especially in our upset of Butler. He was a big reason why we won that game.
“Coach Dave Mann works with those guys and he spends a lot of time with them. He deserves a ton of credit.”
Butcher, a former all-stater from Manson Northwest Webster, is headed to the University of Northern Iowa to join former Cougar teammate Cal Twait and the Panthers in the spring.
As a sophomore, Butcher was second on the team with 74 tackles, including 8.5 for loss. He’ll be graduating at the semester and enrolling at UNI, making him eligible for spring practice.
“Tim had a good freshman year and a dominant sophomore season,” Twait said. “He’s been a friend of the family for years. Growing up, he and Cal were best of buddies. They both made each other better (at Manson NW) and they’ll do that again (at UNI).”
Nine other ICCAC players were named to NJCAA All-American teams, including Iowa Western’s Kai Locksley. Locksley was named the national offensive player of the year after throwing for 20 touchdowns and rushing for 20 more.
The ICCAC had more first-team selections than any other conference, with Iowa Western receiving a nation-best eight total selections.