Tritons come up just short
No. 14 Dodge City hangs on for 28-20 win
Iowa Central head coach Kevin Twait witnessed his program’s change of demeanor in the offseason.
On Saturday afternoon, the Tritons had it on full display once they took the field.
Twait’s squad didn’t get the victory it has been searching for inside Dodger Stadium, but Iowa Central was close in nearly knocking off No. 14 Dodge City.
Ultimately, the Conquistadors left town with a 28-20 triumph.
The Tritons have now dropped 17 straight, but still closed the gap compared to last season’s 24-point loss at Dodge City.
“We played tooth-and-nail with the 14th-ranked team in the country,” Twait said. “It definitely wasn’t for a lack of effort that we came up short. Our kids played hard and didn’t quit the entire game.”
Twait saw his squad improve on both sides of the ball after a Week 1 setback against College of DuPage.
Iowa Central used one of its most balanced offensive displays in recent memory to keep things close. The Tritons rushed for 244 yards and threw for 211 more.
Penalties and mistakes — both physical and mental — cost Twait’s squad dearly, though. Iowa Central committed nine penalties for 85 yards. Five of those penalties negated first downs on plays of 15 or more yards.
“We had some big plays called back for holding,” Twait said. “We have to do a better job of getting that under control.
“Those penalties were huge, and stopped the momentum at pretty important moments.”
The Tritons had a shot at the end after rallying in the last five minutes of the contest. Dodge City went up 28-13 after an Anthony Watkins one-yard touchdown run, but Iowa Central put together a 67-yard possession, capped by a 14-yard touchdown scamper from quarterback B.J. Phillips.
Iowa Central then tried an onside kick that hit a Dodge City player and bounced back toward the Tritons before going out of bounds.
The Conquistadors were stuffed on four straight plays, including a stop on 4th-and-1, to give Iowa Central one last chance. Phillips led the Tritons to the Dodge City 19-yard line with seven seconds left. After rolling out and being swarmed by three Conquistador defenders, Phillips spun and juked, breaking free and tossing the ball into the end zone.
After being tipped, Dodge City intercepted the pass.
“(Phillips) played a tremendous game,” Twait said. “He got the hot hand, and with the defense they were throwing at us, we stuck with him.
“(Quarterback) Zach Parker will still see the field for us, because they both add different dimensions to the game.”
Phillips was 14-for-23 passing for 211 yards, with 146 yards coming in the second half. He had 19 carries for 136 yards as well. Phillips first put Iowa Central on the board in the first quarter, scoring on a 13-yard scamper.
Kicker Jose Fuentes booted field goals of 30 and 27 yards.
E’Quan Dorris had 21 rushes for 80 yards. Roddrick Bryant was the leading receiver with three grabs for 56 yards. Ryan Martinez had 3 for 42.
The Tritons led 10-7 late in the first half before the Conquistadors struck.
Dodge City had the ball on their own 26 with under 2:50 remaining. On 3rd-and-10, quarterback Caden Walters threw a screen pass to Rodney Murphy. The Tritons appeared to have Murphy bottled up at the line of scrimmage, but he bounced free and jaunted 74 yards for a score.
“That play was huge,” Twait said. “It really hurt us. We were doing some good things, and they popped that off.
“You have to credit them for making a play.”
Manson Northwest Webster graduate Tim Butcher led the Tritons along the defensive line.
“Tim is a stud,” Twait said. “He was all over the place and really came up with some clutch tackles.”
The Tritons are next in action on Saturday, as they head to Iowa Falls to face Ellsworth. Kickoff is set for noon.
Iowa Central 7 3 0 10 — 20
Dodge City 7 7 7 7 — 28
Dodge City — Corlan Hymes (2-yard pass from Caden Walters), 9:27 left first. Devonta Gillory kick.
Iowa Central — BJ Phillips 13-yard run, 4:04 left first. Jose Fuentes kick.
Iowa Central — Fuentes 27-yard field goal, 11:42 left second.
Dodge City — Rodney Murphy (74-yard pass from Walters), 2:34 left first. Gillory kick.
Dodge City — Tyler Minor 3-yard run, 9:01 left third. Gillory kick.
Iowa Central — Fuentes 30-yard field goal, 14:47 left fourth.
Dodge City — Austin Watkins 1-yard run, 4;27 left fourth. Gillory kick.
Iowa Central — Phillips 14-yard run, 3:01 left fourth. Fuentes kick.
RUSHING — Iowa Central: BJ Phillips19-136, E’Quan Dorris 21-80, Carter Downer 3-15, Chris McLeod 1-6, Austin McBeth 1-4, Justin Daubaris 1-3; Dodge City: Anthony Watkins 9-39, AJ Walker 10-36, Caden Walters 3-29, Tyler Minor 7-23, Kyle Jones 3-8.
PASSING — Iowa Central: BJ Phillips 14-23-1-211; Dodge City: Caden Walters 15-21-1-224.
RECEIVING — Iowa Central: Roddrick Bryant 3-56, Ryan Martinez 3-42, Kelsey Williams 2-28, Ty Sohn 1-15, Chris McLeod 2-15, Dax Emerson 1-11, E’Quan Dorris 1-2, Luis Montoya 1-2; Dodge City: Caleb Mills 5-75, Rodney Murphy 1-74, Braxton Haley 1-31, AJ Morton 1-22, AJ Walker 1-15, Michael McMullen 1-14, Tyler Minor 1-12, Jerry Hanks 1-8, Austin Watkins 1-8, Zack Leininger 1-7, Corlan Hymes 1-2.