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9/18/2016 Reivers blast No. 2 Butler
9/3/2016 Reivers fall to 0-2
9/2/2016 Reivers look to get back on track
8/28/2016 Reiver stumble in season opener
5/26/2016 Iowa Western Youth Football Camp
4/15/2016 Reivers use spring to rebuild
2/4/2016 Reivers' in-state push pays off
11/1/2015 Reiver defense storms Ft Scott
10/25/2015 Reivers welcome Hutch to the 'Dark Side'
10/11/2015 Rout gives Reivers chance to relax
10/4/2015 Reivers hold off Garden City
9/20/2015 Reivers get out of Dodge with a W
9/13/2015 Beat-up Reivers pull out win
9/6/2015 Reivers humbled at Butler
Reivers blast No. 2 Butler
For the first time this season, the Iowa Western offense held up its end of the bargain.
Combined with another lockdown Reiver defensive effort, you have what transpired on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Lor’Renzo Pratt carried 13 times for 181 yards and a touchdown, and the Reiver defense allowed no points in a 49-7 thrashing of No. 2 Butler at Titan Stadium.
After an 0-2 start, unrated Iowa Western improved to 2-2 in winning its 33rd straight home game dating to 2010. Six-time national champ Butler dropped to 2-1 this season and 1-4 against the Reivers in the series.
“You lose two games and everybody shoots you down,’’ Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier said. “You’re off the charts. That’s what I’m proud of, the fact that they kept battling. The first half again was not pretty offensively. We’re trying to find the spark.’’
Iowa Western rolled up 283 total yards in the second half to pull away from the Grizzlies after leading 14-0 at the intermission. Strohmeier said the key drive came after Butler scored on So’journ Gartrell’s four-yard fumble return to get within 21-7 with 12:09 left in the third.
The Reivers responded with what Strohmeier called the best possession of the season. They marched 74 yards in 13 plays, 10 on runs. St. Albert graduate Jon Meyerring started things with a four-yard carry on third and 3.
Pratt carried five times for 32 yards on the drive, in which the Reivers’ offensive line seemed to get a better push than usual. AJ Bush carried in from the 1 to give Iowa Western a 28-7 lead with 7:12 left in the third.
“I think that’s the confidence they needed, that, ‘Hey, we can run the football,’’’ Strohmeier said.
Butler coach Tim Schaffner agreed that that was a turning point.
“We thought if we could get a three-and-out, we could get the ball back and get something going for the offense,’’ he said. “Credit to them. They said, ‘No.’
“To me, that was just a typical Reiver football team. They do such a good job of feeling the way the game is going and knowing when to go with the accelerator. I can anticipate when it’s coming. You can just sense it.’’
Big plays staked Iowa Western to a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter. Freshman Luke Worden, a 6-foot-3, 285-pounder out of Belmond, Iowa, broke through and blocked Joe Stevens’ punt. The ball bounced crazily toward the end zone. Worden eventually picked it up and was tackled at the Butler 4.
Worden said he lined up at nose guard and got a clean release. The hard part was tracking down the ball.
“I was just hoping it was going to slow down,’’ he said with a smile. “It kept changing speeds.’’
Bush scored on a 1-yard run two plays later for a 14-0 lead with 5:06 left in the second quarter. Pratt opened the third quarter in style, racing 87 yards for a touchdown to make it a 21-0 game.
It appeared Pratt would be chased down around the 30, but he deked the defender and then avoided his attempt to strip the ball.
“I heard footsteps,’’ the 5-8, 188-pounder said. “That kind of slowed me down. I knew he was going to try to rip the ball, so I just held it high and tight.’’
Andre Nunez threw second-half touchdown passes of 45 yards to D’anfernee McGriff and 25 yards to Nick Easley.
The Reiver defense was fantastic. They held the nation’s leading rusher, Kevon Abrams (203 yards per game), to just 67 yards on 18 attempts. They forced five takeaways, including interceptions by Daniel Ezeagwu, Russell Jones, Nick Anderson and Mykelti Williams, who also led the team with five solo tackles and six assists.
Jones returned his pick 42 yards for a touchdown to account for the finishing touch.
“I’ve never been a part of a defense, the way they’re playing right now,’’ Strohmeier said. “They just don’t ever quit. How many times this year has it happened where we’ve made a big play at the end (of a drive), a pick or something?’’
Worden called Iowa Western’s first two losses “a fluke.’’ Strohmeier said the Reivers’ challenge is to hold themselves accountable for playing at that level each week.
“Now the stakes rise a little bit more, so we’ve got to see if we can step up to it,’’ he said.
Butler (2-1) 0 0 7 0 – 7
Iowa Western (2-2) 0 14 14 21 – 49
IW: Daniel Ezeagwu 19 interception return (Bobby Patterson kick)
IW: AJ Bush 1 run (Patterson kick)
IW: Lor’Renzo Pratt 87 run (Patterson kick)
B: So’journ Gartrell 4 fumble return (Chris Diddle kick)
IW: Markeis Hallback 1 run (Patterson kick)
IW: D’anfernee McGriff 45 pass from Andre Nunez (Patterson kick)
IW: Nick Easley 25 pass from Nunez (Patterson kick)
IW: Russell Jones 42 interception return (Patterson kick)
RUSHING: B: Kevon Abrams 18-67, Trenton Autry 10-32, Tyler West 7-25, Isaiah Truss 6-25, C.J. Sims 1-1, Brady Rust 1-0, Easton Bruere 5-(-12), David Israel 8-(-17). IW: Lor’Renzo Pratt 13-181, T-Boy White 4-44, Markeis Hallback 7-19, Andre Nunez 10-15, AJ Bush 5-12, Jon Meyerring 2-6, team 2-(-3).
PASSING: B: David Israel 8-19-3, 76 yards; Easton Bruere 3-10-0, 37 yards; Brady Rust 0-1-1. IW: Andre Nunez 9-16-1, 114 yards, 2 TDs; AJ Bush 2-6-0, 32 yards.
RECEIVING: B: Josh Wilkes 3-37, Sammie Epps 1-26, Myron Mitchell 2-20, Isaiah Truss 1-8, C.J. Sims 1-8, Trenton Autry 1-6, Kevon Abrams 1-6, Tyler Currie 1-2. IW: Nick Easley 7-77, D’anfernee McGriff 3-63, Kadeem Goulbourne 1-6.
TACKLE LEADERS (solos-assists): B, Sean Bernard 7-1, Tony Jones 5-3, Jake Seurer 5-2. IW: Mykelti Williams 5-6, Royal Silver 0-9, Shaq Jones 5-2.