GLEN ELLYN, Ill. - After flashing only glimpses of its potential a week ago, the Iowa Central football team will look for a more consistent effort in all aspects of the game here this afternoon.
The 15th-ranked (NJCAA) Tritons (1-0 overall) will clash with No. 20 College of DuPage (2-0) in their Midwest Football Conference opener.
Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at Bob MacDougall Field.
Last Saturday in its 2012 debut, Iowa Central escaped with a 27-20 road victory over Arkansas Baptist.
Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Jontel Clayton ignited the bruising Triton ground assault once again with 112 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, while Ron Thompson ran 22 times for 104 yards and one score.
Clayton, who ranked second nationally in rushing last fall with 1,477 yards, now needs just 758 yards to become the school's all-time top rusher.
"I thought our offensive line did a nice job last week (Iowa Central racked up 264 yards rushing on 68 attempts), they're inexperienced but tough and will just keep getting better and better," ICCC head coach Kevin Twait said. "Our quarterback managed the game pretty well, too. We forced six turnovers and had a plus-four turnover margin, which is big for us."
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tritons yielded the Buffaloes 367 yards of total offense - 349 passing and 18 rushing.
"Our pass defense has to be better first and foremost," said Twait. "We weren't very good there last week and obviously need to make big strides."
The Chaparrals (2-0) are coming off a pair of shutout wins against Erie (30-0) and Wisconsin-Whitewater JV (21-0). DuPage is averaging 396 yards - 210.5 rushing and 185.5 passing - of total offense per contest.
Quarterback Byron Dawkins of the Chaparrals has completed 18 of 30 passes for 233 yards, including three touchdowns and a pick.
Houston Cassita is the top receiver for DuPage with four catches for 50 yards and a score.
Tyreis Thomas has netted a team-high 102 yards rushing and found paydirt once on just five carries.
Defensively, the Chaparrals are holding opponents to only 127.5 yards per game.
"With Harper and Joliet both dropping football, a lot of their kids ended up at DuPage," Twait said. "They're the lone ranger in Illinois now and have quite a population base. They have a pretty darn good football team and are huge up front."
In their matchup last season, the Tritons dropped a crushing 42-35 decision to the Chaparrals after allowing 35 unanswered points in the second half.