30 Iowa Conference titles
STORM LAKE — Central College nearly climbed out of a 23-0 hole following a disastrous first quarter but couldn’t overcome five turnovers in a frustrating 30-25 defeat Buena Vista University Saturday.
Central (2-4 overall, 1-2 Iowa Conference) surrendered the ball three times in the opening quarter as Buena Vista (1-5 overall, 1-2 conference) scored on its first four possessions. The Dutch, who had two turnovers in the Red Zone, had a first down at the Buena Vista 2-yard line late in the first quarter, only to come up empty following a fumble.
Coach Jeff McMartin inserted strong-armed sophomore Aaron Eiseler (Mesa, Ariz., Red Mountain HS) at quarterback after Central’s second possession, with starter Brendon Boerm (freshman, Traer, North Tama HS) spending the rest of the day at wide receiver.
“The first quarter changed the game for us,” McMartin said, explaining the switch. “But we also felt there were some things in the passing game we could do.”
Eiseler, in the most extensive action of his young Central career, completed 29 of 49 passes for 278 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. It’s the third-highest pass attempts total in school history and the most since Zack Bandow had 51 attempts on Oct. 4, 2008.
The Dutch defense stiffened in the second quarter and Central began to chip away. Kicker Kevin Sheldon (sophomore, West Des Moines, Valley HS) booted 41- and 35-yard field goals and Ben Lechtenberg (senior, Manchester, West Delaware HS) hauled in a 17-yard TD pass to make it 23-13 at intermission.
Central then drove 70 yards in 13 plays on its first possession of the third quarter, with Eiseler going in from the 1. An errant play on the point after left it a 23-19 game.
“Once we stopped turning the ball over, we got some rhythm and we started to play a lot better,” McMartin said.
But with the Dutch eyeing the go-ahead score after getting a first down at the Buena Vista 15 late in the third quarter, Central was intercepted in the end zone.
Buena Vista made it sting six plays later with a 56-yard touchdown pass by Bobby Brown to Logan Lehrkamp, making it a two-possession lead. It was Brown’s third TD strike of the day, earlier hitting for 86- and 19-yard scores.
“It wasn’t just the turnovers,” McMartin said. “We gave up some really long pass plays, too. That really hurt us.”
Still the Dutch clawed their way back. Boerm’s 4-yard run completed a 10-play, 78-yard TD drive with 4:12 left in the game and it was 30-25. Central got a defensive stop and regained possession at its own 33-yard line with 1:37 left. But after Central was pushed back 10 yards by a holding penalty, Buena Vista’s Matthew Best settled the issue with an interception, the fifth turnover.
“We moved the ball pretty well,” McMartin said. “But we need to score when we’re in the Red Zone. Our turnovers were really, really costly. We lost the ball twice when it looked like we were going in for scores and then again at the end of the game. When you have the ball with 1:37 left with a timeout left, you’ve got a chance. But we didn’t get it done.”
The Dutch actually outgained Buena Vista, 444 yards to 352, and ran 92 of the game’s 155 plays. Central held a 166-34 yard rushing advantage. Running back Ross Doehrmann (senior, Williamsburg) rushed for a season-high 79 yards on 13 carries while Eiseler gained 39 yards on 10 attempts.
But Brown completed 16 of 26 passes for 318 yards for Buena Vista while Central threw for 278.
Sophomore tight end Jack Norgaard (Naperville, Ill., Neuqua Valley HS) had a career-high eight catches for 63 yards. Boerm had six receptions for 48 yards and Lechtenberg had five catches for 65 yards.
Linebacker Mike Young (junior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS) led an injury-depleted Dutch defense with 10 tackles, including 2.5 for loss. Linebacker Jordan Wachter (sophomore, Clive, Waukee HS) saw his most extensive action filling in and made 10 stops while defensive end Jack Shipley (junior, Tipton) had six tackles, including 3.0 for loss and a sack with an interception as well.
Central travels to Decorah to battle Luther College next Saturday in a 1 p.m. league game. The Norse are 0-6 overall and 0-3 in league play after a 24-10 loss at Wartburg College Saturday.
"We can't quit," McMartin said. "We've got to come back to practice, work hard and pull ourselves together as a team to get ready to play Luther."
Fine dining in Rippey, Iowa—Central’s postgame meal Saturday was assuredly more enjoyable than the game. Continuing a Dutch football tradition that was started by Velda De Moss and Jean Borgeson in the mid-1980s, the squad was served at the Rippey United Methodist Church. De Moss is the mother of Marc De Moss ’86, a former Central defensive back, while Borgeson is the mother of Linda Borgeson Hampton ’88, who was a Dutch football team student manager. Central has dined at the church after every football trip since then.
“It’s a special tradition,” McMartin said. “It’s a great meal and the money that the church raises by us eating there goes towards mission trips, so it’s a win-win. I love the people at the church who help put it on for us and the food is excellent. It’s a neat thing.”