BY; Dana Becker, The Messenger Sports Reporter
Coming off two tough road setbacks, the Iowa Central football team welcomed a return to Dodger Stadium with open arms here Saturday afternoon.
Blake Dever threw for 226 yards and had a hand in four touchdowns, Jatoviay Hill and Draven Peeples ran for 147 combined yards, and Daquan Cross had two sacks and an interception return for a score as the Tritons dominated College of DuPage, 50-6.
Iowa Central (2-2 overall) had 457 total yards of offense while allowing just 84 for the Chaparrals (1-2) — including 1.2 yards per carry on the ground.
Dever, a transfer from Arkansas State University, hit on 10 of his final 12 passes before exiting the game with a commanding lead. He was 16-for-21 overall.
"I challenged Blake and made it an open competition at quarterback this past week," ICCC head coach Jesse Montalto said. "He came out re-energized and looked like the Blake Dever we all saw when he first got here."
Dever accepted that decision head-on by "working my butt off every day in practice."
"I just got back to playing football, doing what I had to do," he added. "This was a big win for us — one we needed going into the bye week."
Ezra Naylor hauled in six passes for 112 yards, including a 65-yard TD from Dever. Rashad Whitty added seven receptions for 81 yards and a score, and Kevaughn Dingle and Emmanuel Logan-Greene combined for five receptions for 46 yards.
"We just had to stay patient and trust the process (with the passing game)," said Naylor, a transfer from Kennesaw State. "When it was my turn to make something happen, that's what I did."
Naylor came in with three catches for 36 yards through three games, numbers he almost matched in the first half alone on Saturday. Dever and Whitty connected seven times in the opening 30 minutes, with Dingle and Logan-Greene recording five combined receptions.
"Blake does it every single day at practice," Naylor said. "To see him look fluid in the game makes this win feel even better."
The Tritons, who committed seven turnovers last week in a loss at Coffeyville, fumbled on their first snap from scrimmage. They quickly regrouped, however, putting together a 13-play drive covering 74 yards as Dever plowed in from a yard out.
Another drive consisting of 13 plays followed on the next series, with Dever again calling his own number. Iowa Central had 10 first downs on those two drives and finished with 23 on the day.
"We put an emphasis on doing the little things," Montalto said. "Some guys have been down because it hasn't been their day. We suspended some players that weren't buying into what we asked, and those that replaced them stepped up.
"Ezra broke out of his slump with a big game, Dever looked really good, and our backs got going."
Backup quarterback Justin Blake showed quick thinking when he rolled out on a field goal attempt and darted to the end zone for a third score, capping a nine-play, 80-yard series. Dever hit Whitty for a 10-yard touchdown and Cross completed the 29-point quarter with his pick-6.
Hill, a freshman, recorded 82 of his yards in the second half, with TJ Tumbleson adding a rushing score.
DuPage came into the game averaging 460 yards of total offense, including 269 in the air. They were held to 84 total, with 63 by quarterbacks Tate Hausbeck and Tyler Kyburz on 10 completions.
"We're excited," Montalto said. "We're 2-2 and coming off a win headed into the bye week. We'll push the kids really hard in practice because teams I've coached in the past have always shown great improvement doing that extra week off.
"We'll get after them in an almost fall camp-style practice and we'll see who takes advantage of it."
Iowa Central returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 29, vs. Highland (2-1) back at Dodger Stadium.
Rushing — Iowa Central: Jatoviay Hill 16-88, Draven Peeples 14-59, Emmanuel Logan-Greene 4-24, Blake Dever 5-23, TJ Tumbleson 3-15, Justin Blake 2-10. College of DuPage: Daquawn Bell 7-21, Joey Person 7-16, Matt Beach 2-7, Dylan Dunban 1-1, Malik Barnes 1-(minus-1), Team 1-(minus-1), Ben Rhine 1-(minus-1), Tate Hausbeck 3-(minus-7), Tyler Kyburz 3-(minus-14).
Receiving — Iowa Central: Ezra Naylor 6-112, Rashad Whitty 7-81, Kevaughn Dingle 3-26, Emmanuel Logan-Greene 2-20. College of DuPage: Alex Daubon 3-30, Joey Person 3-18, Chris Crothers 1-10, Luke Junkrowski 1-3, Bryann Parker 2-2.