COUNCIL BLUFFS — In its first home game in nearly a month, Iowa Western spoiled its fans in a hurry.
The No. 4 Reivers (8-1) used a short field to score three quick touchdowns in the opening minutes of their 63-6 drubbing of shorthanded Ellsworth (2-6) Saturday at Titan Stadium.
A blocked punt, a turnover on downs and a Dan Henry interception led to a 21-0 lead less than eight minutes in. The Iowa Western defense then added a safety before the end of the first quarter.
“That was the key against a team like that,” Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier said. “They were so depleted. They were playing guys both ways. I felt if we could get on them that this is what it could end up being. (Give) credit to our guys. Our defense played well.”
The victory should slide Iowa Western up another slot in the NJCAA poll. No. 17 Trinity Valley scored 42 straight points Saturday to beat previously unbeaten No. 3 Tyler 55-31 in Texas.
In Council Bluffs, it was so one-sided that the Reivers, who posted 628 yards of total offense, had more penalty yards (117) than the Panthers had total yards (97). Ellsworth also had four turnovers.
Jimmy Hawk started the Iowa Western onslaught by blocking a punt after the first series. Connor Bravard hit Geronimo Allison for a 6-yard score to cap a 22-yard drive to start the rout.
Akise Teague had touchdown runs on the next two Reiver possessions to finish short drives of 34 and 36 yards. He didn’t have a carry after the first quarter, rushing for 91 yards on nine attempts to become the second player in IWCC history to run for 1,000 yards in a season.
Backups Austin White (126 yards) and Antwan Gilbert (130) both had more than 100 rushing yards as the Reivers racked up 388 yards on the ground. Quarterbacks Bravard and Tay Bender also completed 17 of 19 first-half passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
George Sehl caught two scoring passes from Bender and had 107 receiving yards. And Tyler Lloyd hauled in an 82-yard TD pass from Bravard on his first reception as a Reiver.
Kicker Danny Hamilton had four field goals. And IWCC’s defense scored twice.
Cody Poock and Ashton Henderson combined to tackle Oscar Ross for a safety in the first quarter. And Max Weber scored on a 12-yard fumble return to punctuate a dominant defensive effort.
“Coach (Mike) Blackbourn prepared us well and got us ready for the game,” said Poock, who had a team-high nine tackles. “We kind of knew what was coming before it even happened.”
Henry tallied six tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. As a team, the Reivers recorded 17 tackles for losses and sacks by Trevon Young, Landon Schultz and Brandon Allen.
Ellsworth’s leading rusher was linebacker La’More Wise, who also played running back. Its lone touchdown came on a reception by Corry O’Meally, who also started at cornerback.
After consecutive road games at No. 1 Georgia Military, Arkansas Baptist and Iowa Central, Iowa Western’s homecoming lived up to its name. The Reivers are also home next week.
“The atmosphere is unbelievable here with our fan base,” Strohmeier said. “Just to be back on the home turf to play in front of their friends and families again is good. It’s also nice after the game because I have a short ride home instead of an 18-hour bus trip.”
Ellsworth (2-6, 1-5) ............................ 0 6 0 0— 6
At Iowa Western (8-1, 6-0) ............................ 23 17 13 10—63
IW: Geronimo Allison 6 pass from Connor Bravard (Danny Hamilton kick)
IW: Akise Teague 24 run (Hamilton kick)
IW: Teague 4 run (Hamilton kick)
IW: Safety, Oscar Ross tackled in end zone
IW: FG Hamilton 30
IW: George Sehl 18 pass from Tay Bender (Hamilton kick)
IW: Sehl 32 pass from Bender (Hamilton kick)
E: Corry O’Meally 16 pass from Ross (kick blocked)
IW: FG Hamilton 40
IW: Tyler Lloyd 39 pass from Bravard (Hamilton kick)
IW: FG Hamilton 40
IW: Max Weber 12 fumble return (Hamilton kick)
IW: FG Hamilton 19
RUSHING: E, Ross 18-25, Wise 13-50, Merchant 8-(-28), DiTomaso 3-7, Rasmussen 2-1, Wiles 1-(-2), Kilgo 1-(-8). IW, Stephenson 12-49, Gilbert 11-130, White 10-126, Teague 9-91, Bender 3-(-18), Bravard 2-10.
PASSING: E, Ross 6-15-1 68. IW, Bravard 16-19-1 143, Bender 4-7-0 86, Culjat 1-2-0 11.
RECEIVING: E, Reed 3-34, O’Meally 2-20, King 1-14. IW, Johnson 7-48, Sehl 4-107, Davis 3-27, Allison 3-15, Lloyd 1-39, Gilbert 1-11, Reed 1-(-3), Smith 1-(-4).