Iowa Central hosts Garden City
After three long weeks on the road, the Iowa Central football team finally returns to Dodger Stadium.
The Tritons host No. 12 Garden City for Homecoming with a noon kickoff set.
Iowa Central (3-3 overall) went 1-2 on its three-state trip to play College of DuPage, 13th-ranked Snow and No. 20 Highland in consecutive weekends.
“It hasn’t really hit the kids d\uring the week, but I think once Saturday rolls around and they get in front of that home crowd, it will hit them,” ICCC head coach Jesse Montalto said. “We’ll get the band going, there will be a great crowd and it should be an incredible atmosphere.”
Kurt Taylor ran for a career-high 215 yards last week vs. Highland, giving him 432 yards in his last three games with three touchdowns. The Michigan transfer broke off a 75-yard scoring run.
“Our offensive line is really coming together here over these past few weeks,” Montalto said. “Our focus has been on running the ball and trying to take advantage of one of our strengths.”
Arthur Brantley stepped in for DJ Irons at quarterback after Irons was hurt early at Snow. Brantley has 270 yards passing, 247 yards rushing and four total touchdowns.
Receiver Tanarious Achan adjusted to the change, catching five passes to give him a team-leading 30 on the year for 417 yards.
“DJ is getting closer,” Montalto said. “He took some good reps here this week and hopefully he’ll be able to go.”
The Triton defense held tough vs. Highland, allowing just six yards rushing. Brandt Casey enters Saturday with a team-high 42 tackles followed by Lamont Bishop, Eugene Brown and Daquan Cross.
Casey also has three sacks and five tackles for loss.
Garden City (4-2) has won back-to-back games over Fort Scott and Iowa Western, with both of its losses coming by three points each to Snow and Independence.
Ramon Jefferson leads the team with 502 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, followed by Ellis Merriweather (320, 3 TDs) and Jadon Hayes (300, 8 TDs). The team is averaging over 216 yards rushing per game.
The Broncbusters rank second in the nation in total yards rushing with just under 1,300 and are first in rushing touchdowns with 21. They are also in the Top-10 in the nation in first downs, scoring, points per game, total offense, rushing first downs, passing first downs, fourth-down conversions, fumbles recovered, defensive touchdowns and time of possession.
Garden City’s defense has recorded 16 sacks, forced 12 fumbles and picked off five passes. They played in the national title game last year and are under the new direction of Tom Minnick this season.
“They are going to be physical and probably the best defensive we have faced this year,” Montalto said. “They are going to look the part and going to play extremely hard. We have a great challenge ahead of us.”
During the five-game series between the two schools, the Broncbusters have won all five by an average score of 37-7.
The forecast is for temperatures in the mid-60s with a 60 percent chance of showers and winds gusting out of the southwest at 16 mph.