LIVINGSTON — Iowa–Grant kicked off its 2015 Homecoming by honoring legendary Hall of Fame coach Garry Crull, naming the field in his honor during a pregame ceremony in front of an overflow crowd of alumni.
The current Panthers finished the night celebrating their 49–6 victory over Riverdale at the annual Homecoming dance.
Senior halfback Brayden Johnson rushed for 145 yards and three short touchdowns, while junior quarterback Caleb Hill tossed a pair of TD passes to senior wide receiver Isaac Anderson.
Senior fullback Zach Campbell turned in the play of the night when he broke through the middle of the line and outraced the Chieftain defense for a 66-yard touchdown with 7:51 left in the second quarter.
“Focus was the key for the whole week,” said I–G head coach Gary Allen. “Homecoming and the field dedication could have been distractions but our leaders did not allow that. Zach and Brayden ran very hard and the line controlled the line of scrimmage. When those things happen the score takes care of itself.”
After Iowa–Grant (3–1, 2–0 SWAL) forced a Riverdale punt to begin the game, Johnson opened the scoring with a 1-yard run with 3:37 left in the opening quarter to make it 6–0.
The Chieftains (1–3, 0–2) reached in to their back of tricks to score their only points of the night on a fake punt.
After a late shift from the punt formation that sent nine players to the left, punter Elijah Cannon threw a 34-yard pass to snapped Trevor Troxel, who was also lined up as the end in the formation, to tie the game at 6–6 with just 15 seconds left in the first quarter.
The rest of the half, and game for that matter, was all Panthers. I–G scored three second-quarter touchdowns and scored the two-point conversion after each to take a 30–6 lead in halftime.
“We didn’t make any real adjustments as a team, but the kids just buckled down on their own and got it done,” said Allen of his team’s 24-point second quarter outburst.
Hill tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Anderson less than a minute into the second quarter and completed the 2-point conversion pass to Eric Raimer.
Raimer single-handedly stopped the Chieftains’ next drive when he stripped Riverdal senior Brady Fox and recovered the fumble at the I–G 20.
A few plays later Campbell broke through the line on a simple trap play and outraced a pair of Riverdale defenders for a 66-yard touchdown. Hill completed the conversion pass to Johnson for a 22–6 lead.
Senior Colin Price recovered a Riverdale fumble on the ensuing drive and Hill once again connected with Anderson in the end zone, this time from 11 yards out, with 16.8 seconds left in the half.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Anderson, who was the Panthers starting quarterback the past two seasons, finished the game with three catches for 55 yards. Hill finished 6 of 9 for 80 yards.
“Isaac’s size and athleticism has made his transition to receiver a smooth one,” said Allen. “Caleb has also worked very hard to improve every day as a quarterback.”
Johnson scored twice on runs of 2 and 8 yards in the third quarter, and junior Trae Kuenster completed the scoring with a 1-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Iowa–Grant is off to a 2–0 start in conference play and will look to keep it’s league winning streak going Friday at Southwestern (1–3, 1–1 SWAL).
“The kids are becoming confident that they can do their jobs well consistently. The more confident they become the harder they play and the more fun they have,” said Allen. “Southwestern is an improving program which is coming off a big win. We will need to play very well.”
Iowa–Grant 49, Riverdale 6
(from Friday, Sept. 11 @ Livingston)
Iowa–Grant 6 24 12 7 — 49
Riverdale 6 0 0 0 — 6
IG: Brayden Johnson 1 run (run failed)
R: Cannon 34 pass from Troxel (conversion failed)
IG: Isaac Anderson 31 pass from Caleb Hill (Raimer pass from Hill)
IG: Zach Campbell 66 run (Johnson pass from Hill)
IG: Anderson 11 pass from Hill (Johnson run)
IG: Johnson 2 run (kick blocked)
IG: Johnson 8 run (kick failed)
IG: Trae Kuenster 1 run (Acea Upmann kick)
First downs — R 10, IG 16. Rushing — R 36-146, IG 44-336. Passing Yards — R 68, IG 80. Passing — R 7-14-0, IG 6-9-0. Fumbles–lost — R 2-2, IG 0-0. Penalties-yards — R 5-51, IG 5-61.
Rushing — R: Troxel 13-53; IG: Brayden Johnson 24-145. Passing — R: Troxel 6-13-0, 35; IG: Caleb Hill 6-9-0, 80. Receiving — R: Fox 3-35; IG: Anderson 3-55.