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Keenan Wiley to continue football career with Iowa Central Community College Tritons

Keenan Wiley to continue football career with Iowa Central Community College Tritons
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City senior Keenan Wiley goes up for one of his eight touchdown passes he scored this season during a home victory over South Tama. The record-setting receiver will continue his FB career at Iowa Central Community College.

By John Burbridge

CHARLES CITY — Sports fans have such strong affinity toward outstanding athletes because the latter brings so much excitement and joy to the former.

Maybe that’s why so many Charles City students stayed after school to attend Keenan Wiley’s formal signing last week to continue his football career at Iowa Central Community College.

Wiley helped give many of these same student/fans the biggest thrill thus far of the current school/sport calendar year on the first snap of the Comets’ final football game against Clear Lake.

The heavily favored Lions were stunned when Wiley got behind their drawn-in secondary to haul in a brilliantly thrown halfback pass from junior Kaden Liddleton, resulting in an 83-yard catch-and-run touchdown and complete bedlam in the Comet Field bleachers and along the Comet sidelines.

It took some time before the playoff-bound Lions recovered and won 56-7, but Comet fans still got to see history in the making as the aforementioned play made Wiley the school’s all-time leader in single-season receiving yards, which he topped off at 615, and single-season receptions (8).

Still growing from his listed height of 6-foot-5, Wiley helped give another overwhelming favorite a wake-up call during the Class 3A-Substate 3 basketball championship against No. 1-ranked Decorah while scoring 10 of his team-high 18 points in the first half which helped put the Comets up by 1 at intermission before the Vikings — like the Lions before them — responded and rallied to avoid the upset.

“Basketball is my main sport,” said Wiley, who was a two-time All-Northeast Iowa Conference selection during his two seasons playing hoops for the Comets. “That’s the sport I imagined playing in college.

“I just decided to go out for football this season, and people began to take notice.”

With a large contingent of students, coaches, teachers, administrators and family members gathered in the high school commons area adorned with various gridiron-themed trinkets and cookies shaped and frosted to represent footballs, someone remarked that this signing event was like LeBron James’s announcement of joining the Miami Heat. Indeed, a parallel had already been established when Wiley — who had never played varsity football before — approached Charles City head football coach Bryan Bjorklund and, in Bjorklund’s telling of the encounter “Told me he wanted to take his talents to the Comet football team.”

As for Wiley taking his talents to the Tritons, Bjorklund believes they will be utilized immediately.

Fort Dodge-based ICCC is a National Junior College Athletic Association program coming off a 7-4 season which was capped by a 44-9 victory over Snow College in the Game One Bowl, its 13th postseason win in a row.

Last season, the nationally Top 10-ranked Tritons averaged more than 236 yards per game through the air.

Wiley is one of ICCC’s 14 in-state recruits — Triton head coach Jesse Montalto reportedly stated that they put extra emphasis on recruiting Iowa players for this year’s class to fill key positions.

“It was a tough decision … football or basketball,” said Wiley, who was named the Comet Football MVP after his lone varsity season, “but I liked (Iowa Central’s) coaching staff, so I went with football.

“I’m just glad it’s over and I know where I’m going.”

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