Tritons lose at home

Iowa Central’s bid for its first Midwest Football Conference victory of the season was denied by College of DuPage here Saturday afternoon.

Falling for the fifth time in the past six meetings against the Chaparrals, the Tritons (1-2 overall, 0-2 in the league) suffered a 38-7 setback inside Dodger Stadium.

After trailing just 14-7 at the break, Iowa Central watched the visitors pull away behind a barrage of 24 unanswered second-half points.

“I thought we played a decent ballgame in the first half, and I felt like we still had a good chance to come back and win,” ICCC head coach Kevin Twait said. “For whatever reason, we just lost our composure in the second half, which is very uncharacteristic. Credit (DuPage), though, because they tackled, blocked and coached better than we did (yesterday). Shame on us for losing our cool a little out (on the field).”

Down by a pair of scores late in the second quarter, the Tritons managed to break through on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Kendall Jackson to Brandynn Clark, capping a productive 90-yard drive in just over five minutes. Nathan Criswell then tacked on the PAT, keeping Iowa Central well within striking distance.

“That big touchdown at the end of the half gave us some nice momentum,” said Twait. “We thought this game would be just a hard-nosed battle – and it was for awhile – but (the final outcome) obviously didn’t go the way we wanted.”

Jackson sparked the Triton ground charge, accounting for 72 yards on 17 carries. He also went 10-for-14 through the air for 88 yards, including a pick. Trentan Bledsoe was the top receiver for Iowa Central, pulling down seven catches for 37 yards.

The Tritons were held to only 192 yards of total offense and 11 first downs. Iowa Central, which committed eight penalties for 80 yards, punted seven times and went 3-and-out on five occasions.

Tanner Wilson (fumble recovery and half of a sack), Greg Brown (interception), Shaquille Wells (sack), D’Shawn Dexter (sack), Kyle Terlouw (half of a sack), Jareid Combs (half of a sack) and Anthony Combs (half of a sack) anchored the Triton defensive unit, which surrendered 515 combined yards and 22 first downs.

Mitch Bonnstetter, a former West Bend-Mallard prep, averaged 49.1 yards per punt, with a career-long boot of 82 yards in the third period.

For College of DuPage (2-1, 2-0), Zak Zerquera rushed for a game-high 92 yards – all coming in the second half – on just eight attempts.

Dontrel Chance added 74 yards and found paydirt once on nine totes, while dual-threat signal-caller Lamont Toney completed 12 of 18 passes for 169 yards, including a pair of touchdowns and a pick.

Despite earning their second straight triumph, the Chaparrals were flagged 11 times for 115 yards.

Offensive lineman Cleandre Robinson of the Tritons was also ejected for a flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct call on the sidelines in the waning moments of the contest.

“That’s the first bench foul we’ve had in 18 years, and it will never happen again,” Twait said. “We have to put this (loss) behind us now and get ready for our rival down the road in Ellsworth. We’re going to need that (win over the Panthers) to have any shot of making another bowl game (ICCC has punched 14 bowl tickets in the past 16 years).”

Iowa Central travels to Iowa Falls on Saturday for a clash with Ellsworth (0-2, 0-2). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Cadet Field.

The Tritons will next face College of DuPage on Oct. 26 in Glen Ellyn, Ill.