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Tritons no match for No. 6 Hutchinson

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Christian Ford of Iowa Central attempts to catch a pass against Hutchison on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

Jesse Montalto knew it would be an uphill climb for his Iowa Central football team here Saturday afternoon against sixth-ranked Hutchinson.

The No. 19 Tritons were without several key players and it showed, as the Blue Dragons earned a convincing 56-0 victory inside Dodger Stadium.

Hutchinson (9-2 overall), which had still been in the running to contend for an NJCAA national title before a 20-19 loss to No. 3 Garden City last week, took advantage of short fields and turnovers to avenge a 54-16 loss last year to the Tritons (6-6).

“It’s tough when you are without guys like DJ Irons and Rashad Witty, and then you have more guys get hurt,” Montalto said. “We had to limit what we could do on offense and against a big, physical team like Hutchinson, that makes it tough.

“I think the biggest thing we can take from this game is how important it is to work to get bigger and stronger in the offseason. That was a bigger, stronger team standing across from us on the field, and it showed on the scoreboard.”

Iowa Central, which had moved back into the Top-20 after topping Fort Scott last Saturday on the road, now turns its attention to Dec. 8 and the Graphic Edge Bowl. Thanks to their victory earlier this season over fifth-rated Iowa Western, the Tritons will play in the marquee game in Cedar Falls against an opponent to be determined.

“Hopefully, we’ll be healthy and have some guys back,” Montalto said. “We are just a much different team with DJ out there on the field.”

Irons, who leads the entire nation in quarterback rating, missed the contest after suffering a concussion last week. Arthur Brantley started in his place, but also was banged up early in the contest.

Brantley finished with 39 yards passing and 34 yards on the ground. Jadon Washington ran for 54 yards, and also had three catches for 21 yards.

Hutchinson’s offense spread the ball around, as seven different players recorded at least one carry and 10 had a reception. Quarterback Mark Wright was 17 of 24 passing for 120 yards, adding 69 yards on the ground.

Wright had two passing TDs and ran in another for the Blue Dragons, who will host the Salt City Bowl on Dec. 7.

The Iowa Central defense held Hutchinson to 174 yards of total offense in the first half, but short fields gave the Blue Dragons easy scoring chances.

Kalen Burt had a sack with Avry Bonacci recording a fumble on defense for the Tritons.

“Our defense played pretty well against a good offense,” Montalto said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of moving the ball.”

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Iowa Central: Jadon Washington 23-54, Arthur Brantley 14-34, Kurt Taylor 4-16, Grant Walker 6-15, Chance Gibbons 3-(minus-11), Team 1-(minus 16). Hutchinson: Mark Wright 7-69, Tiyon Evans 6-52, Jonathan White 6-34, Kendall Cross 4-16, Erin Collins 5-12, Ray Samuel 1-8, Trey Coleman 2-1, Team 1-(minus-2).

Passing — Iowa Central: Arthur Brantley 6-20-1-39, Chance Gibbons 1-1-0-20. Hutchinson: Mark Wright 17-24-0-120, Khari Lane 2-4-0-32.

Receiving — Iowa Central: Jadon Washington 3-21, Tanarious Achan 1-20, Terrell Carey 1-17, Christian Ford 1-2, Grant Walker 1-1. Hutchinson: Tray Pettway 2-42, Tiyon Evans 1-27, Mitchell Tinsley 5-21, Jalen Roach 2-13, Cortes Braham 1-12, Erin Collins 2-10, Karim Brown 2-7, Craig Burt 2-7, Kobe Phillips 1-7, Stacey Marshall 1-6.