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Iowa Central cruises to another win

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla DJ Irons breaks free during a run for Iowa Central against Coffeyville on Saturday afternoon inside Dodger Stadium. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

From the looks of the scoreboard inside Dodger Stadium Saturday, one would think the 12th-ranked Iowa Central football team had everything clicking.

That was far from the case, though, according to head coach Jesse Montalto.

While Montalto was pleased with the second half effort that led to a 45-17 victory over Coffeyville, he was hoping to see that from the opening kickoff.

“I was frustrated through the first half with the way we played,” Montalto said. “We lacked energy. Our execution was off. We had a lot of little things that we weren’t doing right.

“But we addressed it at halftime and the coaches did a great job with their position groups of getting things right. I also though the leadership of our team was big with how we didn’t fold when we faced some adversity.”

DJ Irons hit four different receivers for touchdowns, finishing with 236 yards passing and 82 yards running as the Tritons (2-1 overall) racked up 453 yards of total offense.

Irons completed 11 of 16 passes before being replaced by Arthur Brantley late with a minor injury. Brantley ran for a team-high 88 yards and found the end zone in the fourth.

“DJ did a good job out there and he could have came back in, but we wanted to keep him fresh and give Arthur some time,” Montalto said. “We have two very good quarterbacks who are athletic and when you can run the ball with that position, it definitely opens up the offense.”

Tanarious Achan, who entered the week tied for second in the nation in receptions, added five more for 66 yards and a 32-yard TD from Irons. Brandon Tukes, J.M. Young and Rashad Witty also caught touchdown passes.

Witty, a sophomore who was a key piece to Iowa Central’s Graphic Edge Bowl run last year, also answered a Coffeyville (0-3) score by returning a punt 40 yards to the end zone in the third quarter. He finished with 134 total yards from scrimmage.

“After our first drive, we all sat down and reminded each other that the game was not over,” Witty said. “That’s when the entire offense started clicking. We came out on the next drive as if the game was 0-0 and executed how we were supposed to.

“I’m really proud of everyone and thankful for the fans for staying even through it rained.”

Witty also noted that the rivalry win over Iowa Western a week ago helped “boost our confidence in ways I could not explain through words.”

The Tritons showed their depth on offense as six different players carried the ball and seven caught a pass from either Irons or Brantley. That will be key as they have no bye this season and play three consecutive games on the road in three different states.

“It feels good,” Montalto said of the win. “We have a chance to be in the Top-10 after this week maybe, but we have to take care of business on the road. We have yet to prove we can do that and that starts with DuPage (next Saturday).

“We’ll take it one game at a time and focus on DuPage by putting together a good week of practice.”

Young’s touchdown came on a hail mary throw by Irons to end the first half, as the ball was tipped right to the 6-foot-4 sophomore wide receiver from Bettendorf in the back-corner of the end zone.

Luke Chuol, Kalen Burt and Lamont Bishop each had a sack for the Iowa Central defense, with Brandt Casey recovering a fumble.

DuPage improved to 1-1 with a 47-7 victory over Arkansas Baptist Saturday.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Iowa Central: Arthur Brantley 13-88, DJ Irons 9-82, Kurt Taylor 4-20, Jatoviay Hill 7-9, Rashad Witty 1-6, Grant Walker 5-1. Coffeyville: Challen Fa’amaulau 19-76, Cam Smith 9-49, Marco Lee 10-46, Darryan Washington 8-39, Kyshaun Bryan 9-28, Edwin Kleinpeter Jr. 6-13, Jack Bastable 1-(minus-1).

Passing — Iowa Central: DJ Irons 11-16-0-236, Arthur Brantley 2-4-0-11. Coffeyville: Edwin Kleinpeter Jr. 5-17-0-92, Aubrey Williams 3-3-0-57, Jack Bastable 3-8-0-23, Cam Smith 1-5-0-6.

Receiving — Iowa Central: Tanarious Achan 5-66, Rashad Witty 3-58, Jatoviay Hill 1-42, J.M. Young 1-39, Brandon Tukes 1-31, Jyvon Brown 1-6, Christian Ford 1-5. Coffeyville: Isaiah Taylor 2-72, Gregory Jean 4-33, Kyre Richardson 1-30, Tyquez Hampton 2-17, Brycen Yarmo 1-14, Jonathan McCoy 1-6, Jared Miles 1-6.