Iowa Western football coach Scott Strohmeier got about what he expected from his team’s first game of the season.

Film revealed mistakes that needed to be addressed. The NJCAA No. 2 Reivers also had to shake off the rust from the offseason and work to erase an early deficit.

But everything started clicking in the second half of their 36-14 victory over Coffeyville. They allowed only seven second-half points and finished the game with six sacks and five turnovers.

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“We came out and started early with the D-line,” Strohmeier said. “That caused a lot of havoc. We knew we didn’t generate as much early on, but we were going to wear them down because we can keep rolling with fresh guys.”

Devin Drew led the way with a pair of sacks, and Perrion Winfrey, Isaiah Coe and Dominic Quewon together added three more, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Strohmeier thought quarterback Cam Thomas took the proper steps forward for the first game of the season. He completed 52% of his passes for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also missed on a few throws that likely get completed later in the season with more experience.

“Really, the only thing we really stressed was he missed some throws that we’ve got to have,” Strohmeier said. “Some wide open guys that we’ve got to hit, but I thought he did a good job for not playing in a while. If he can be a step better this weekend, we’re headed in the right direction.”

Strohmeier is hoping that opening the season on Aug. 22 will pay slight dividends in terms of preparation. Instead of a week to evaluate the first game, the Reivers had nine days. It may not seem like much, but the extra time helps with recovery and installing the Week 2 game plan.

“You get those first-game mistakes out of the way,” Strohmeier said. “You’re fortunate enough to win. We came in Friday, watched the film. I gave them Saturday off, and we came in on Sunday. We practiced Monday, an extra day. It kind of gives you that feeling of gradually working because the next week, we’re going into game week right away.”

Iowa Western’s opponent this week is likely following a similar plan of attack. Iowa Central was ranked 14th in the NJCAA preseason poll, but they’re about to face one of the tougher back-to-back games in the country to begin a season. The Tritons dropped a 42-10 decision at No. 10 Butler last week. And much like Coffeyville against Iowa Western, turnovers were an issue. The Tritons finished the game with three turnovers.

Despite the Tritons' lopsided outcome, Strohmeier isn’t taking preparation lightly. He and his team know they’ll see a team much improved over the one that played a week ago. It’s an in-state rivalry game, too, with the Kinney Cup at stake, a prize the Reivers have claimed the last 10 years.

“They always say you improve the most from Week 1 to Week 2,” Strohmeier said. “Hopefully that’s true for us. They’re going to be in that situation, too, trying to improve off of last game. They never really got in sync.

“They missed some things and blew some defensive assignments that cost them in big ways. I’m assuming those are going to get corrected. Then you have a rivalry week, their first home game and playing for the Kinney Cup.”​

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