Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier could only sigh with a slight smile in disbelief.

The running back position, once full of depth and versatility, is now depleted.

Sophomore ZaQuandre White and freshman Sheldon Cage were hurt in last week’s win over Independence and aren’t expected to play Saturday. Freshman Jayson Murray is out as well with a shoulder injury.

The good news is that freshman Brian Snead, who also has missed time this season, will return to the backfield. Freshman Chandler Cotton will see his first action of the season in the backfield and freshman Luke Waters, a Council Bluffs St. Albert graduate who had to play tailback last week, also has taken reps this week.

Questions surround the 18th-ranked Reivers’ backfield as they enter Saturday’s 1 p.m. game against No. 9 Snow (Utah).

“All those running backs are different-styled running backs,” Strohmeier said. “We haven’t seen Chandler in any game situation, and Brian is coming off a concussion.” 

A day off with a bye week was the original plan on Iowa Western’s schedule, but Strohmeier agreed to play Snow. which was looking for another opponent.

The Badgers (4-2) have won two in a row and are well-traveled. They have a 15-hour bus ride to Iowa four days after returning from a win at ASA Miami.

Their offense is capable, averaging 371 yards (216 pass, 155 rush) and 25 points per game. Snow has played two quarterbacks — sophomore Braxton Kerr and freshman Garrison Beach. The pair has combined for 1,289 yards passing with eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Saturday commences a difficult end-of-year stretch for the Reivers (4-3). Following Snow, IWCC plays No. 15 Fort Scott, No. 7 Butler and No. 12 Highland. 

“We think we’re playing pretty good ball, it’s just the next step to it,” Strohmeier said. “Every one of them is going to be difficult. It gives us the opportunity to prove that we’re a good football team with three losses.”

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