Tritons head to Ellsworth
IOWA FALLS — The Iowa Central football team can lay claim the a conference title here Saturday.
The Tritons will take on Ellsworth at 1 p.m.
With a victory, Iowa Central (4-4 overall, 1-0 in ICCAC) will complete the two-game round-robin slate with the Panthers (1-6, 0-1) and Iowa Western (4-3, 1-1).
Earlier this year, the Tritons topped the 18th-ranked Reivers inside Dodger Stadium, 28-26.
“Our focus has been on getting back over .500 and to 5-4, and to claim the conference title,” ICCC head coach Jesse Montalto said. “Those two things are big deals for us. We know Ellsworth is going to come out and give us everything they have, so we have to be ready for them.”
Iowa Central snapped a three-game losing skid last Saturday with a 39-21 victory over Dodge City in Kansas. The Tritons will have played five of six on the road following this weekend.
DJ Irons threw for 222 yards and three touchdowns, with Tanarious Achan and Terrell Carey each catching two scores as Iowa Central held a 323-229 edge in total offense.
Irons has thrown for 1,074 yards with 11 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 178. Kurt Taylor leads the team with 644 yards rushing and three scores, while Achan has 37 receptions for 591 yards and five TDs.
Rashad Witty and Carey have a combined seven receiving touchdowns on 31 catches with Irons and Arthur Brantley adding seven rushing scores.
“DJ is probably around 75 percent healthy, but he’s ready to go,” Montalto said. “Chance (Gibbons) came in last week, led us in rushing and threw a touchdown pass, so we know we can roll with him if we need to.”
The Triton defense also had a strong day, recording six sacks and forcing two turnovers. Nathan Proctor had two of those sacks, with Malik Adams recording a team-high 10 tackles.
Elijah Freking made his first start at linebacker, finishing with eight tackles, a sack and an interception.
“It was great to see a kid like Elijah take advantage of his opportunity,” Montalto said. “You can’t ask for more from a player than what he gives you. It was just a great all-around performance for him last week.”
On the season, Daquan Cross leads the way with 51 tackles. As a team, Iowa Central has 15 sacks and 10 turnovers.
Along with playing ranked Iowa Western, the Tritons have also faced off against No. 7 Butler, eighth-ranked Garden City, No. 9 Snow and 12th-rated Highland this year. Iowa Central still has games with No. 4 Hutchinson and 15th-ranked Fort Scott on the schedule.
Ellsworth was Montalto’s coaching stop prior to taking over the Tritons. The Panthers are on their second coach in two seasons with Mitchell Kleinschrodt taking over.
Much like Iowa Central, Ellsworth has spent recent weeks on the road, playing three straight away from home and five of its last six. They were shutout in back-to-back weeks at Iowa Western and Fort Scott, with their lone win coming at home vs. Dodge City, 15-8.
Marice Witlock leads the team with 271 yards rushing, as the Panthers have thrown for just 193 yards on the year. They have scored just four offensive touchdowns in seven games.
Former Clarion-Goldfield/Dows standout Will Weidemann does have three catches for 59 yards.