Iowa opens up in second half, scores 27 points to pull away

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, September 11, 2021

KINDER — Iowa reeled off a quartet of explosive plays in the second half to win the Battle of the Yellow Jackets Friday, 41-18 over Kinder.

All of Iowa’s second-half touchdowns were longer than 30 yards.

“I thought Kinder did a great job of getting after us in the first half,” Iowa head coach Tommy Johns said. “I am proud of my kids for fighting back in the second half and making some adjustments.

“Kinder had a lot to do with that in the first half. We had to settle in. We were putting the ball on the ground — penalties and blown assignments up front. Any time you get a victory over a team the caliber of Kinder and the program and history they have here, you have to take it any time you can get it.”

Iowa (2-0) led 14-12 at the break before Curtis Deville broke off a 30-yard touchdown run with 9:54 left in the third quarter, skirting the sideline for much of the run.

After forcing Kinder (1-1) to punt, junior running back Ronald Young scored on a 51-yard run. Then came a 40-yard scoring run by quarterback Koltin Lebleu with 12 seconds left in the third quarter for a 34-12 lead.

Iowa capped its scoring with a 51-yard reception by Luke Guillory with 6:57 left in the game.

Iowa’s defense did its part, forcing three turnovers. Junior defensive back Jhaylen Moss had a pair of picks, and Kyle Arsement recovered a fumble. Arsement’s recovery came on Kinder’s first offensive play, and Moss ended Kinder’s second possession.

Moss’ second pick came near the goal line with 3:07 left in the third quarter to preserve a two-score lead.

“I thought Jhaylen played a great game tonight,” said Iowa coach Tommy Johns said. “Defensively, I thought we played pretty well at times. We have to get away from giving up the big play. Other than that, I thought we played well.”

Kinder never trailed by more than seven points in the first half but turned the ball over twice.

“Little negative plays here and there, whether it be a penalty or a bad snap, it is hard to call a play when it is second-and-12 or second-and-15,” Kinder head coach Bret Fuselier said. “We need to stop making those little mistakes and those mental mistakes and give ourselves a chance.

“We just need to clean it up. It is the beginning of the year. You are going to see this kind of stuff, but now it is Week

3. It is time to clean it up and get better.”

After falling behind 7-0, Kinder’s Landon Schmitz scored on an 85-yard kickoff return.

A decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 backfired on Kinder, and Iowa turned it into a 14-6 lead on a 1-yard run by Lebleu with 5:01 left in the second quarter.

“We gave them a short field when I decided to go for it,” Fuselier said. “I felt on fourt-hand-1 that we could get that. We felt that maybe we could have even had the lead at halftime.

“In the second half, things didn’t go our way. Iowa did a good job. They are a well-coached team, and they came out in the second half and controlled it.”

Young led Iowa with 131 yards on 15 carries. Lebleu ran for 69 yards and passed for 125.

Alex Levan led Kinder’s ground game with 102 yards on 11 carries.