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No. 7 Tritons head to Utah

EPHRAIM, Utah — Jesse Montalto and the Iowa Central football team were not content with just taking long bus rides to Kansas and Illinois this year.

No, they had to go and find an even longer trek.

The seventh-ranked Tritons (3-1 overall) will take on No. 16 Snow here Saturday evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. inside Badger Stadium.

Iowa Central is in the middle of a three-game, three-state trip away from Dodger Stadium. Last Saturday, they downed College of DuPage in Illinois, 50-36, with a date at Highland in Kansas scheduled for next weekend.

“There is a lot of nervous energy from everybody right now,” Montalto said. “We have some kids that have never been on a plane before. We’re trying to prepare them for the check-ins, security, the flight, the drive and of course, a football game, as well.”

It was a breakthrough performance for Kurt Taylor, as the Michigan transfer ran for a career-high 133 yards on 22 carries, scoring twice. DJ Irons continued to showcase his dual-threat skills, throwing for 236 yards with two TDs and running for 41 with another score.

“That was the best our offensive line has played all year,” Montalto said. “With that position, the more reps you get, the better you come together. It was a lot of fun to watch and we are hoping to see more of the same (this week).”

Wide receiver Tanarious Achan ranks second in the nation with 17 receptions for 361 yards, averaging over 14 yards per catch. Achan had seven catches for 170 in the win over DuPage.

Irons has completed 62 percent of his passes this year with just one interception and seven touchdowns. He has thrown for 734 yards and ran for another 183 with three scores.

Taylor leads the team with 253 yards on the ground and Rashad Witty is averaging over 114 all-purpose yards per game.

Brandt Casey, who comes from Mesa junior college in Arizona and has experience playing against Snow, had two sacks a week ago. Casey and Jarran Barber both have a team-high 29 tackles, with Eugene Brown and Daquan Cross recording 28 stops each.

Snow (2-2) was a member of the Western States Football League that dissolved after last season. That left the Badgers an independent in need of games to compete.

Last year, Snow came to Iowa to face Iowa Western in the Graphic Edge Bowl. They are also set to return to the state in October to play the Reivers.

Braxton Kerr has thrown for 735 yards and four touchdowns this year, but the sophomore did not play last Saturday. Garrison Beach started and has 157 yards passing, one touchdown and 79 yards rushing.

Shammah Luani leads the team with 196 yards and three scores, with Sione Molisi adding 164. Keashawn McCoy has 17 catches for 250 yards, but he also missed the game last week.

The Badgers opened the year with a 30-27 victory over No. 18 Garden City, followed by a 36-17 loss to top-ranked Butler. Both games took place in Kansas.

Snow downed Air Force Pre, 31-16, before falling at home last week to sixth-ranked Lackawanna, 17-6.

“At the end of the day, we’ve still got to go play a football game regardless of where it is and how we got there,” Montalto said. “This group has done a good job of keeping their focus on that.”

This is the first meeting between the two programs.