COUNCIL BLUFFS — Iowa Western has clinched a share of the Midwest Football Conference title.
It’ll play for the outright crown next week in its regular-season finale.
The No. 3 Reivers (9-1) moved to 7-0 in league play with a 60-7 victory over North Dakota State College of Science on Saturday at Titan Stadium. It was their 13th consecutive win against MFC opponents.
Like the previous 12 over the past two years, this one wasn’t competitive for long. IWCC scored 35 points in the first 22 minutes against a team it beat 25-0 on the road six weeks ago.
That game in Wahpeton, N.D., was played in a driving rainstorm. This one had a steady wind.
The Reivers used the conditions early on to gain a quick advantage on the Wildcats (2-6, 2-5).
“We needed a quick start,” Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier said. “We played the wind game, caught them in a field-position game and got some quick, easy scores. We basically put them away.”
David Jenkins intercepted NDSCS quarterback Josh Hansana on the third play from scrimmage to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Antwan Gilbert less than three minutes in. The turnover set the tone for the day. By game’s end, Iowa Western had picked off seven Wildcat passes.
Linebacker Cody Poock returned the second one 53 yards to the end zone to give the Reivers a 21-0 first-quarter lead. Hansana was injured a short time later and gave way to backup Jared Etienne, who was intercepted five times over the final three quarters.
NDSCS struggled on offense, especially early. It had only 19 total yards at the half.
Iowa Western, however, was rolling. Quarterback Connor Bravard led the Reivers on four scoring drives — including ones of 65, 88 and 60 yards — before intermission.
“Early on, we took the ball down and scored on every single drive,” he said. “It was awesome to get it moving. I was really happy with the way we played, especially the defense.”
Bravard completed 29 of 40 passes for 297 yards in his final home game with the Reivers. The sophomore also had a 5-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
Iowa Western running back Akise Teague, fourth in the NJCAA in rushing, didn’t play Saturday because of a violation of team rules. His teammates didn’t need him. Gilbert ran for two first-quarter touchdowns, and Austin White racked up 110 rushing yards, all in the final two periods.
The Reivers also got 159 receiving yards from Geronimo Allison, who had 13 receptions. And kicker Danny Hamilton made a school-record six field goals, all of which came after the half.
Iowa Western dominated its final game with the Wildcats, who announced earlier this week that they will play football in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference beginning next fall.
The Reivers wrap up their regular season next Saturday at second-place DuPage (6-2, 5-1), which has won four straight games since a 33-0 loss to Iowa Western last month.
Strohmeier said his team will be motivated for the rematch.
“The Midwest Football Conference championship is on the line,” he said. “We’ve got another trophy to play for. It’s a good opportunity for us there, and that’s really got to be our approach.”
NDSCS (2-6, 2-5)...........................0 0 7 0— 7
At Iowa Western (9-1, 7-0)...............21 14 9 16—60
IW: Antwan Gilbert 4 run (Danny Hamilton kick)
IW: Gilbert 1 run (Hamilton kick)
IW: Cody Poock 53 interception return (Hamilton kick)
IW: Kyle Stephenson 5 run (Hamilton kick)
IW: Connor Bravard 5 run (Hamilton kick)
ND: Claude Garrett 80 pass from Jared Etienne (Larry Thorpe kick)
IW: FG Hamilton 21
IW: FG Hamilton 31
IW: FG Hamilton 35
IW: Tay Bender 3 run (Hamilton kick)
IW: FG Hamilton 22
IW: FG Hamilton 38
IW: FG Hamilton 28
RUSHING: NSD, Dobbs 9-(-6), Hansana 5-(-3), Garrett 2-20, Curtis 2-1, Etienne 2-(-27), Loyd 1-14, Conroy 1-1, Al-Hameed 1-(-1). IW, White 17-110, Bender 14-33, Gilbert 11-26, Stephenson 6-21, Bravard 5-38, Hillyer 4-24, Culjat 3-20.
PASSING: ND, Hansana 3-12-2 21, Etienne 8-28-5 129. IW, Bravard 29-40-0 297, Bender 2-8-0 21.
RECEIVING: ND, Garrett 4-91, Dobbs 3-30, Owens 2-24, Al-Hameed 1-10, Flomo 1-9. IW, Allison 13-159, Sehl 5-76, Johnson 5-22, Gilbert 2-28, Hinkel 2-20, Moore 2-8, Smith 2-5.