" /> ">
30 Iowa Conference titles
PELLA—Asserting control on the ground from the start once again, the Central College football team powered its way past Luther College 35-17 Saturday.
The No. 8-ranked Dutch (7-0 overall, 5-0 Iowa Conference) rushed the ball on 15 of their first 19 plays from scrimmage and running back David Zachary (senior, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) established yet another career high with 174 yards on 28 carries.
Meanwhile quarterback Nate Snead (sophomore, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) had a hand in five touchdowns, running for two scores and passing for a career high three TDs.
Zachary has also surpassed his career best season rushing total with an Iowa Conference-leading 897 yards on 135 carries. He’s averaging 6.6 yards per rush and 128.1 per game.
"We wanted to establish the run, same as every week,” Zachary said. “We are going to be able to do some great things on offense when we get the running game going. We can also get our passing game going. And when Nate(Snead)is running well he's going to open some things up for me. Our coaches do a great job of calling different plays and keeping the offense going from different angles."
Zachary fueled a 10-play, 70-yard opening drive for the Dutch, with Snead getting the touchdown on a 15-yard quarterback draw.
Central added a second-quarter score on a four-play, 55-yard drive as Snead hit tight end Cody Thie (junior, Ottumwa) on a 17-yard TD. But Luther used an effective short passing game to move 77 yards in 12 plays for a TD and it was 14-7 at intermission.
Snead found tight end Jordan Leuschen (junior, Decorah) on second-half TD strikes of 7 and 20 yards. After Leuschen’s first TD, Luther (3-3 overall, 2-2 conference) had a chance to move within one score on a 12-yard, 56-yard drive. But on third-and-inches at the Central 11, the Dutch defense held and Luther settled for a 28-yard Seth Streeter field goal.
"It was a big play, a big stop,” McMartin said. “We were fortunate that we got out of there only allowing three points. Holding them to a field goal was huge."
Leuschen’s second TD was followed by a 29-yard scoring run by Snead that stretched Central’s advantage to 35-10 with 7:24 left in the game. Luther quarterback Chris Reynolds tossed his second touchdown pass with 1:22 remaining to complete the scoring.
Snead completed 10 of 13 passes for 101 yards. However after throwing 63 passes without an interception, he was picked off on a tipped ball early in the second quarter. Quarterback Zack Bandow (junior, Manilla, IKM HS) completed 3-of-5 for 16 yards but also was intercepted on a tipped pass.
The Dutch rolled up 407 yards total offense with 290 yards rushing and 117 through the air. It all starts up front, Zachary said.
"Our offensive line does a great job week in and week out,” he said. “I have to give them all the credit. They open the holes for me every play, every game. Our fullbacks Preston West (sophomore, Swisher, Prairie HS) and Jarred Lackey (junior, Somerton, Ariz., Cibola HS) do a great job of hitting the linebackers and getting me to the second level. Those guys are the ones that deserve all the credit. I just do my job and try to make plays when I get opportunities. Our offensive line has been doing a great job of moving guys.”
Luther gained 274 yards as Reynolds completed 25-of-48 for 252 yards with one interception, but the Norse were held to just 22 yards on the ground. Central is yielding only 76.1 rushing yards a game. Reynolds, who was averaging 74.6 rushing yards a game, could generate just four yards on eight carries Saturday.
McMartin liked the defensive effort.
"We're working hard and getting better every week,” he said. “We came in with a good game plan. Luther runs an offense where if you're not disciplined and you don't read your keys and react appropriately, they can beat you. We were able to read our keys, stay focused and allow ourselves an opportunity to have success."
The scores by Thie and Leuschen gave Central’s tight ends three TD receptions on the day.
“Cody Thie and Jordan Leuschen had great days blocking and catching the football,” McMartin said. “As athletes you always want to make a big play and get into the end zone, so it was nice to see them do that. Our tight ends got some opportunities today, which was really good and they made the most of those opportunities. The last touchdown pass to Jordan was a big play because we were driving the ball and we needed that score to get into a better position for the win. He really came through for us."
Defensive back Cody Baethke (junior, Williamsburg) topped a balanced tackle chart with six stops and a pass breakup. Defensive back Ryan Schmidt (sophomore, Keswick, Tri-County HS) had his first interception of the year and the Dutch recorded two pass sacks.
Central is on the road for two of the final three regular-season games, traveling to Dubuque next Saturday to take on Loras College in a 1 p.m. game. The Duhawks, who were off this week, are 2-4 overall and 2-2 in league play.