For the second time this season, the Iowa Central football team simply couldn't slow down defending NJCAA national champion Iowa Western.
Playing in a rare night game at Dodger Stadium, the Tritons (2-4 overall, 1-4 in the MFC) suffered a 59-7 setback to the No. 5 Reivers here on Saturday night.
With the loss, Iowa Central has now dropped five straight meetings in the series between the two Midwest Football Conference rivals. As a result, the Kinney Cup will stay in Council Bluffs for another year.
Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Trentan Bledsoe of Iowa Central works his way toward the goal line on Saturday night inside Dodger Stadium against Iowa Western. For more photos, please visit CU at www.messengernews.net
The traveling trophy is named after IWCC president Dan Kinney Sr. and his son, ICCC president Dan Kinney Jr.
"We had some chances to get off the field (defensively), but (the Reivers) were just better in space by a long way," Triton head coach Kevin Twait said. "They're a very well-coached football team with a tremendous bunch of athletes. There's no doubt that we have a lot of work to do to close the gap on them in the future."
Unable to contain the nation's third-ranked offense, Iowa Central spotted the visitors an early 28-0 edge. Trentan Bledsoe's 7-yard touchdown run three plays after a blocked punt by Anthony Combs spoiled Iowa Western's bid for its fourth shutout of the season.
Iowa Western - Akise Teague (1-yard run), 10:47 left first. Danny Hamilton kick.
Iowa Western - Teague (25-yard run), 2:04 left first. Hamilton kick.
Iowa Western - Teague (16-yard run), 13:13 left second. Hamilton kick.
Iowa Western - Geronimo Allison (18-yard pass from Tay Bender), 8:39 left second. Hamilton kick.
Iowa Central - Trentan Bledsoe (7-yard run), :45 left second. Nathan Criswell kick.
Iowa Western - Mondo Williams (95-yard kickoff return), :33 left second. Hamilton kick.
Iowa Western - Allison (10-yard pass from Connor Bravard), 8:52 left third. Hamilton kick.
Iowa Western - Bryant Johnson (9-yard pass from Bravard), 1:08 left third. Hamilton kick.
Iowa Western - Bender (5-yard run), 11:26 left fourth. Hamilton kick.
Iowa Western - Hamilton (27-yard field goal), 7:03 left fourth.
Rushing - Iowa Central: Trentan Bledsoe 7-42, Kendall Jackson 9-18, Wesley Burnside 5-15, Vybert Greene 2-12, Desmond Van Arsdale 4-2, Zach Minch 4-1, Kippie Ward 3-(minus-1), Rory Siddell 2-(minus-2). Iowa Western: Akise Teague 16-117, Tay Bender 6-68, Ian Begg 8-65, Alex Hillyer 4-20, Austin White 5-19, Connor Bravard 2-3, Geronimo Allison 1-6.
Passing - Iowa Central: Jackson 6-12-0-75, Van Arsdale 3-11-1-21. Iowa Western: Bravard 23-30-0-215, Bender 8-12-0-77, JD Culjat 0-1-0-0.
Receiving - Iowa Central: Bledsoe 6-54, Brandynn Clark 2-27, Andy Henry 1-15. Iowa Western: Allison 11-129, Bryant Johnson 9-59, George Sehl 3-39, Alex Reed 2-20, Teague 2-19, Begg 2-10, White 1-9, Andrew Davis 1-7.
Any momentum abruptly shifted back to the Reivers, though, as Mondo Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to paydirt in the waning moments of the first half.
"That long kickoff return right after we finally scored was a real backbreaker," said Twait."I thought about squibbing (the kick) in that situation, but I had complete faith in our coverage unit. It was inexcusable that we didn't get the job done."
Iowa Central's opening drive of the contest ended with a 48-yard field goal hitting off the crossbar. Another 52-yard attempt was partially blocked in the second quarter.
Bledsoe sparked the Tritons with 42 yards rushing on seven carries. He was also the top receiver for the home team, hauling in six catches for 54 yards.
Quarterback Kendall Jackson of Iowa Central went 6-for-12 through the air for 75 yards. Zach Minch added a 52-yard kickoff return.
"I was proud of our effort even though the final score might not indicate it," Twait said. "We still have four big games left now at the end of the road. I have complete confidence our guys will find a way to bounce back."
Akise Teague, an ex-Cincinnati Bearcat player, delivered 117 yards and three scores - all coming before the intermission - on 16 rushes for the Reivers.
University of Northern Iowa transfer Connor Bravard, a former West Des Moines Dowling all-stater, completed 23 of 30 passes for 215 yards and a pair of TD. Illinois commit Geronimo Allison notched 11 receptions for 129 yards and found the endzone twice, while one-time Kansas State signee Tay Bender ran for a score and threw for another.
League-leading Iowa Western (7-1, 5-0) held a decisive advantage in both total yards (590-183) and first downs (29-9). Since seeing their national-best 18-game winning streak snapped in a 48-38 defeat to then-No. 5 Georgia Military back on Sept. 28, the Reivers have rebounded by outscoring their last two opponents, 143-47.
Iowa Central's lone triumph over the Reivers came in Iowa Western's first-ever game back in 2009.
Next outing for the Tritons is Saturday when they face Arkansas Baptist (3-4) Kickoff is set for noon in Kansas City, Mo.