Tritons cap turnaround with Graphic Edge bowl title

CEDAR FALLS — Carlton Todd made the move down Highway 20 to Iowa Central following a standout career at Waterloo West.

On Sunday, Todd ventured back to his old stomping grounds and helped the No. 16 Tritons to a 34-20 victory over No. 12 Monroe in The Graphic Edge Bowl here inside the UNI-Dome.

Todd had three catches for 80 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

After earning all-region honors a year ago as a freshman for Iowa Central, Todd found himself battling against several Div. I transfers in the first season under new head coach Jesse Montalto. But the sophomore never gave up, finding himself in a key role during a six-game win streak to conclude the year for the Tritons.

“Trusting the process and trusting my coaches helped me excel through the last part of the season,” Todd said. “Coach Montalto moved me to the outside and trusted me to make plays, and thankfully that’s what I did.

“This offense was so fun to be in. It was so fast and we had so many weapons that anyone could pop off for a big game at any moment, and that’s all thanks to Coach Montalto for putting us in the perfect position to excel.”

Todd had 15 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown last year, finishing this season with 16 receptions for 298 yards and three scores. He had 12 catches for 222 yards and two of those touchdowns during the final four games.

As a senior at West, Todd caught 45 passes for 854 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had five catches in 2016 in a victory for the Wahawks over Cedar Falls here, 21-14.

“It felt great being back in the area,” Todd said. “A lot of close people I know were able to come out and support me and the team. (Scoring that touchdown) in front of family members who haven’t seen me play in years, and to close out the game for my brothers, that felt amazing.”

Rashad Witty showed his versatility throughout the contest, catching a team-high six passes for 68 yards. He also had two kickoff returns for 58 yards and four punt returns for 37, giving him 163 all-purpose yards on the day.

The redshirt sophomore finished the season with 57 catches for 676 yards and six scores, adding 29 yards rushing, 597 kickoff returns yards and another 113 punt return yards, as he led the team with 1,415 all-purpose yards at 128.6 per game.

“This season has put such an impact on my life forever,” Witty said. “From the coaches down to the managers and everyone on this team was all about one that, and that’s family. It’s been a pleasure to be part of this Triton football team.

“Being able to put the community behind this team again felt so amazing to me. Leaving on this note will only make everyone anxious to see what comes next year.

“I’m so thankful that I was able to be part of this Triton team. I’m a Triton for life.”

Todd and Witty weren’t the only members of the wide receiving group for Iowa Central to find success against the Mustangs, as Ezra Naylor caught four passes for a team-high 81 yards. Naylor finished the year with 19 receptions for 292 yards and a touchdown.

“We had a ton of talent in our wide receiver core and I feel like that’s what so special about it because that gave us the opportunity to learn from each other,” Naylor said. “It also gave us a chance to compete with one another every practice.

“Being here at Iowa Central, I learned how to deal with adversity in a different way. I created brotherhoods that’ll last forever and that’s one thing I’ll always remember.”

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