Iowa Western Reivers

NEWS

Reivers fall to 0-2

BY KEVIN WHITE - Omaha World-Herald / Daily Nonpareil

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Every veteran head football coach undoubtedly has been where Iowa Western’s Scott Strohmeier found himself Saturday afternoon.

Down by three. Ten seconds left and no timeouts remaining. Second and 10 at the Hutchinson 15. A quarterback who had turned it over four times, but who also had made some clutch plays.

Send in the field-goal unit or try to win it with one more snap?

Strohmeier chose to go for the win. The ball slipped out of Nebraska quarterback transfer AJ Bush’s hands for his third lost fumble. After it lay on the ground for what seemed like an eternity, defensive end Ronheen Bingham snatched it up and ran 74 yards for a walk-off touchdown as No. 16 Hutchinson downed No. 6 Iowa Western 21-12 at Gowans Stadium.

“I was going to kick the field goal, to be honest with you,’’ Strohmeier said. “It was going through my mind. I’m like, ‘We’ve got 10, we just can’t take a sack.’ The thing that I didn’t want was a sack or what happened.’’

The Reivers dropped to 0-2 for a second straight season. They squandered an eight-point, fourth-quarter lead last week in a 25-19 overtime defeat to Arizona Western, also losing on the final play.

Iowa Western struggled mightily for most of the game on offense, and the entire squad again was mistake-prone. The Reivers finished with 273 total yards – 147 in a three-point fourth quarter – to go with 12 penalties (for 84 yards), three safeties allowed and the five turnovers, all committed by Bush, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Husker transfer who joined the team on Aug. 18.

Bush split time with Andre Nunez in the first half, but took all of the snaps except for four after the intermission. He finished 14 of 33 for 215 yards through the air with two interceptions and one touchdown, and carried 23 times for 30 yards.

With Iowa Western trailing 15-9, Bush led the Reivers on a 12-play, 66-yard drive that ended with Bobby Patterson’s 27-yard field goal with 12:26 remaining.

Still down three, Iowa Western took over on its 20 with 2:21 left. Bush completed passes of 11, 8, 7 and 3 yards, but he fumbled on third and 7 at the 49, and teammate Blake Yager recovered for a 14-yard loss, bringing up fourth and 21. Bush rifled one down the middle into heavy traffic, and D’anfernee McGriff made a remarkable one-handed, 27-yard catch to keep the drive alive.

Bush hit Lor’Renzo Pratt for 23 yards to the 15, and after an incomplete pass with 10 ticks remaining, Strohmeier was faced with his fateful decision.

Even though it backfired with Bush’s third lost fumble, Strohmeier stressed that the former Husker shouldn’t bear all of the blame. He said he doesn’t want Bush to feel “that he lost the game himself. There were numerous plays that led to it. But I know he feels that way.’’

The Reiver defense deserved better. It held the Blue Dragons to 233 yards in 80 snaps and didn’t allow a touchdown. Hutchinson converted just 1 of 20 third-down plays. Daniel Ezeagwu had 10 tackles, while Nick Anderson, Mykelti Williams and Royal Silver each added eight. Silver also intercepted a pass and recorded a sack. Colton Dinsdale added seven stops, including one for a loss, along with a pass breakup.

Dinsdale, a freshman out of Gladbrook-Reinbeck, said the team will not become fractured after the bitter loss.

“We have a lot of leaders as sophomores that come to practice every day willing to work,’’ he said. “We’ve just got to do that. We’ve just got to push each other more. We’ve had two close games where it came down to the end and we just couldn’t get over the hump. It’s rough, but we’re still a team. We’re still family.’’

Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades said his team battled through the offensive adversity.

“The thing that won the game for us was chemistry,’’ he said. “Guys really digging in for each other. I thought they did a great job of staying together (last week, in a 34-29 win over Coffeyville), and they did it again today.’’

Moments before Strohmeier stepped onto the bus for the nearly five-hour ride home, he said it’s up to every player and coach to take responsibility for the 0-2 start and resist pointing fingers.

“We stress that all the time to them. We have to have a team,’’ he said. “If one unit’s (down), we’ve got to pick the other one up. That’s their mentality.’’

Iowa Western (0-2)0 9 0 3–12

Hutchinson (2-0)5 2 8 6–21

H: Safety, ball kicked out of end zone

H: FG Luke Niemeyer 37

IW: FG Bobby Patterson 33

H: Safety, illegal chop block in end zone

IW: Austin Ahrendt 10 pass from AJ Bush (kick failed)

H: Safety, Lor’Renzo Pratt tackled in end zone

H: FG Niemeyer 37

H: FG Niemeyer 23

IW: FG Patterson 27

H: Ronheen Bingham 74 fumble return (no attempt)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING: IW, AJ Bush 23-30, Markeis Hallback 1-1, Lor’Renzo Pratt 11-(-3), Andre Nunez 4-(-3), team 1-(-14). H, Tre King 22-70, Otis Williams 11-36, Chaz Capps 4-15, Grant Smallwood 1-8, Chris James 8-1.

PASSING: IW, AJ Bush 14-33-2, 215 yards, 1 TD; Andre Nunez 5-9-0, 47 yards. H, Chris James 6-18-2, 31 yards; Chaz Capps 5-16-0, 72 yards.

RECEIVING: IW, D’anfernee McGriff 8-130, Lor’Renzo Pratt 2-47, Nick Easley 4-35, Austin Ahrendt 2-26, Kadeem Goulbourne 3-24. H, Tyler Harris 3-35, Travon Jones 2-22, Grant Smallwood 2-22, Andre Lewis 1-13, Jezel Parra 1-4, Otis Williams 1-4, V’on Williams-McRoy 1-3.

TACKLES (solos-assists): IW, Daniel Ezeagwu 5-5, Mykelti Williams 6-2, Royal Silver 3-5, Nick Anderson 1-7, Colton Dinsdale 3-4. H, Ronheen Bingham 5-8, Gabe Richardson 8-3, Asher Goldston 5-2.