Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Tritons are going bowling

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This season has provided plenty of big time tests for the Iowa Central football team, with one more left to be played.

The No. 11 Tritons will take on fifth-ranked Snow College inside the UNI-Dome on Sunday, Dec. 3 in the 45th Game One Bowl. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Last year, Iowa Central (6-4 overall) claimed a fifth consecutive postseason victory under head coach Jesse Montalto by besting Trinity Valley, 31-24. The win marked the ninth bowl win in a row for Montalto.

“This is an awesome opportunity for us to give our guys one more chance to showcase what they can do,” Montalto said. “Snow is a tremendous team and just missed out on making the playoffs. In a lot of ways, they are a version of Iowa Western in what they do.”

Over the past several weeks, the Tritons have been tested, taking on three teams currently in the Top-10 including No. 1 Hutchinson and second-ranked Iowa Western.

Justin Silverstein has 1,860 yards passing with 17 TDs while Mario Sanders, who recently committed to the University of Illinois, leads the nation with 70 receptions for 926 yards and 12 scores.

The Tritons topped Independence and Garden City before falling to Hutchinson to begin the season. They rebounded with wins over Coffeyville, Ellsworth and defending NJCAA Div. III champion College of DuPage before three consecutive setbacks.

In the final week of the regular season, Iowa Central topped Highland, 41-13.

Snow’s (9-2) lone losses have come against the Reivers and Trinity Valley, who is rated ninth. The Badgers featured quarterback Donovan Smith, who has thrown for almost 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions.

Jared Wilson has 596 yards and nine touchdowns receiving with Amir McGruder adding 452 and five. Spencer Lambert leads the team in rushing with 640 yards and AJ Tillman has scored 10 TDs.

Snow opened the year with a seven-point loss to Trinity Valley, winning four in a row before falling to Iowa Western by seven. They topped the likes of No. 15 New Mexico Military, seventh-ranked Dodge City, No. 12 George Military, 14th-rated Lackawanna and Garden City during the year.

This marks the third meeting between the two, with the Badgers winning the previous games in 2019 (30-20) and 2021 (48-18).

“To get to seven wins and finish in the Top-10 would be a pretty good deal for these kids considering all the injuries we’ve dealt with,” Montalto said. “They’ve worked hard and we are excited to give them this opportunity to compete again.”

Iowa Central is 18-9 all-time at bowl games inside the UNI-Dome and have won its last 12 overall.

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