Tritons open at Butler
EL DORADO, Kan. — The Iowa Central football team makes the almost seven-hour journey to open the 2019 season against Butler here Saturday night.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
The 14th-ranked Tritons posted a seven-game turnaround in the win column last season under first-year head coach Jesse Montalto. That included a win over Monroe in the Graphic Edge Bowl.
Montalto won his first game with Iowa Central, besting Butler inside Dodger Stadium, 26-16. That followed a win by the Tritons over the Grizzlies to conclude the 2017 season.
“Butler is one of the toughest environments you can play in, and with it being a night game, we know it’s going to be an incredible atmosphere,” Montalto said. “We are trying to get our guys ready both mentally and physically.”
Iowa Central finished in the Top-25 in the nation last year in points per game, total offense, passing yards per game, points allowed, yards allowed, passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed.
DJ Irons, a transfer from Eastern Kentucky, will lead an offense that features returning wide receiver Rashad Witty, running back Jatoviay Hill and newcomers like Kurt Taylor (Michigan transfer) and Grant Walker (Georgia Southern transfer).
Sophomores Lamont Bishop, DaQuan Cross and Ty’Reim Stephens anchor the defense that forced five turnovers vs. Butler last year.
“It’s going to be a very exciting game,” said Bishop, who had an interception return in the win last year.
The No. 10 Grizzlies feature Steven Frank, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from Florida Atlantic. Frank, the top quarterback prospect in the state of Illinois as a senior, racked up over 6,000 total yards and 88 touchdowns in high school.
Grahm Roberts, who had 144 yards from scrimmage vs. Iowa Central last year, is the top returning player after rushing for almost 400 yards and five touchdowns. Ten players from the defense return including Josh Davies, Quillan Felton, Xavier Hinkle, Parker Bruce and Kwinton Lassiter.
Butler was picked second in the KJCCC behind No. 5 Hutchinson and one spot ahead of third-ranked Garden City.
Last year, the Grizzlies went 8-4 and won the Midwest Classic Bowl over Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
“We are going to find out right away what our football team is made of,” Montalto said.