Tritons travel to face No. 2 Iowa Western

By DANA BECKER

sports@messengernews.net

COUNCIL BLUFFS — There is plenty on the line here Saturday for the Iowa Central football team.

After beginning the Jesse Montalto era last week with an upset of No. 13 Butler, the Tritons get their second ranked foe in as many games when they battle No. 2 Iowa Western.

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. here inside Titan Stadium.

Iowa Central (1-0 overall, 0-0 in the ICCAC) took advantage of several turnovers by the Grizzlies and timely big plays to claim a 26-16 victory inside Dodger Stadium.

The Reivers (1-0, 0-0), meanwhile, bested Coffeyville, 19-6.

“We talk about every week being 1-0 for the week, so our focus has been on Iowa Western and not our big win vs. Butler,” Montalto said. “That been the biggest thing in practice (is the focus on the Reivers). We’ll be going on the road for the first time, we’ve started classes so our schedule is different, so there is some adversity we have been dealing with.”

Blake Dever, a transfer from Arkansas State, was 13 of 35 for 182 yards and a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Logan-Greene, adding a rushing score himself. Logan-Greene had a team-high five receptions for 111 yards, as Dever hit six different players.

Luke Noonan booted through a pair of field goals and was also 2-for-2 on extra-point attempts for the Tritons.

On defense, Iowa Central had two sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss, taking advantage of six Butler turnovers. Ty’Reim Stephens broke up three passes and Michael Slater had 3.5 tackles for loss.

Former Baylor player DeMarco Artist and Daquan Cross each had a sack.

“I told our team that I have been in college football for 18 years now and this is the time you can tell the most about your team between Week 1 and Week 2,” Montalto said. “How much you improve shows. I think our kids are ready. We’ve got a bunch of gamers who just want to go out and play and compete.”

Iowa Western, in its 10th season as a program under head coach Scott Strohmeier, won the national title in 2012 and returned to the championship game two years later. Last season, they were primed to compete for the trophy before the computers knocked them down to third in the rankings.

The Reivers are 85-19 all-time and have won 10-plus games in five seasons.

Tyriek Starks, who was on the roster at Kansas for two seasons, started the opener and was 14 of 22 passing for 121 yards with two touchdowns, adding another 50 yards on the ground. He is joined in the backfield by freshman Milton Sargebah, who ran for 77 yards on 21 carries.

JaVonte’ Richardson caught five passes for 62 yards, including a touchdown, and Michael Zachary, a former two-time state wrestling champion at West Des Moines Dowling, had four receptions and a score.

Iowa Western’s defense recorded six sacks and 11 tackles for loss, forcing three turnovers.

The winner of Saturday’s game will also claim the Kinney Cup, which was created for Iowa Central president Dan Kinney and his father, also Dan Kinney, the president at Iowa Western.

“We know all about what Iowa Western brings and how much of a rivalry game this is,” Montalto said. “We are familiar with each other and now it’s just a matter of our kids playing to their abilities and having them ready to go on Saturday.”

In 2016, the Reivers hung on for a 20-17 victory, adding a 62-14 triumph over the Tritons a season ago.

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