COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Sunday film sessions picked at the open wounds.
For the Iowa Western football team, they were a necessary step on the road to recovery. Coach Scott Strohmeier said the sessions revealed a cold truth: At some positions, players were shying away from the moment.
“You’ve got to be the one that wants to make the play,” he said. “Instead, I felt at times there were guys that maybe didn’t want that play to come their way.”
And so despite leading 35-14 after three quarters, Iowa Western suffered its first regular-season loss in 17 games with a shocking 48-42 overtime setback to Coffeyville (Kansas).
The Reivers tumbled from No. 3 to No. 13 in the national rankings and will face another tough test Saturday when they travel to No. 10 Butler (1-0) for a 7 p.m. game at BG Products Veterans Stadium in El Dorado, Kansas.
Strohmeier said there were several lessons learned in defeat. Most notably, perhaps, it’s never to take your foot off the gas. For a time in the third quarter it appeared Coffeyville’s spirit was broken. But a series of big plays quickly put the Red Ravens back into contention.
“You can never get complacent with where you’re at,” Strohmeier said. “People are going to keep continuing to come at you.”
The biggest concern around the Reiver facility this week is the health of sophomore quarterback Zach Martin. The Omaha North product suffered a bruised collarbone last week and left the game for good in the second quarter. Strohmeier said Martin is likely to be a game-time decision.
“If he’s able to go,” the coach said, “he’s going to go.”
Butler opened its season with a 47-12 win over Independence, which was picked to finish last in the Jayhawk League. The Grizzlies, picked to finish third under first-year coach Tim Schaffner, outgained Independence 315-216, getting 15 carries for 121 yards and three touchdowns from Kobe McCrary.
With no margin for error now in the chase for a third national title game in four years, Strohmeier said Saturday’s contest will reveal plenty about his team’s character.
“I want to see how they respond,” he said. “My thing is, we just can’t be negative towards one another. Things aren’t always going to go our way.”
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