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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 23, 2018

IW holds off Crown in conference opener

Sep 11, 2017
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Rodolfo Amezcua catches the first touchdown pass of the game for Iowa Wesleyan.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


It wasn’t easy on Saturday afternoon, but the Iowa Wesleyan football team started its conference schedule off right with a thrilling 41-34 win over Crown College.

The Tigers traded punches all afternoon with the Storm, but a late touchdown drive orchestrated by quarterback Alex Payne gave the Tigers the UMAC win.

After a scoreless first quarter seemingly set the tone for a defensive struggle, the two teams combined for six touchdowns in a hectic second quarter.

IW struck first, when Payne found Rondolfo Amezcua open in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good and it was 7-0.

Crown answered back with two scores in a minute in a half, the second of which was a 65-yard pick-six. The Storm couldn’t convert on either extra point attempt but led 12-7.

IW marched down and took the lead back on a four-yard touchdown run by Akenyon Bagley. The Storm, however, changed the lead for the third time on a 23-yard TD run and it was 20-14 in favor of Crown after a two-point conversion.

Bagley scored his second touchdown of the game in the final minute of the second quarter. Payne found him on a two-yard TD pass and the Tigers led 21-20 at halftime.

The lead changed twice more in the third quarter as Crown and IW traded touchdown passes. The Tiger score was on a 10-yard touchdown catch by Amezcua. Both PAT attempts were no good and the Tigers held a one-point lead again at 27-26.

Jacquez Hall had the offensive play of the day to close out the scoring in the fourth quarter. He burst out for a 57-yard touchdown run with 2:05 left in the period and it was 34-26 after three periods.

The Storm tied the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion to start the fourth, but Crown couldn’t quite regain the lead, and Payne had enough time for one last drive.

On a drive that began at their own 15-yard line, the Tigers marched down the field led by the trio of Payne, Bagley and Amezcua. Payne crossed the goal line with a two-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the IW defense held on the next Crown posession, allowing the Tigers to celebrate a win in their first home game of the season.

“I really think it was a little bit about that mental fortitude,” Tiger head coach Michael Richtman said after the win. “Obviously we had some patches there where things didn’t go very well, but we were able to take what they gave us.”

Richtman also talked about a Tiger offense that was firing on all cylanders, minus a few hiccups, in the last three quarters.

“I think the biggest thing is that we have a variety of weapons, and we can spread the ball around,” Richtman said. “We don’t necessarily have the ability to go deep every play, but we can stretch the field horizontally.”

The Tigers have the opportunity to start the UMAC schedule 2-0 when they hit the road to play Martin Luther on Saturday, Sept. 16. The Tigers cruised in last year’s matchup, drubbing Martin Luther 38-0 at home.

This season’s game will begin at 12 p.m., in New Ulm, Minn.Rodolfo Amezcua catches the first touchdown pass of the game for Iowa Wesleyan.

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