30 Iowa Conference titles
PELLA — They’re two of the most storied names in NCAA Division III football history—Central College and Augustana College (Ill.)—and they’re both searching for their first win in 2012 as they prepare to clash Saturday.
Game time is 1 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium. It’s the Dutch home opener.
On the air, on the Web—Trevor Castle calls the play-by-play on KRLS-FM (92.1) with George Wares providing color. The broadcast can also be accessed through Central’s website at www.central.edu/athletics or through www.kniakrls.com. A video webcast and live stats can also be viewed at www.central.edu/athletics.
KRLS radio also airs the Coaches’ Corner featuring Dutch coach Jeff McMartin at Applebee’s restaurant in Pella each Monday night at 7 p.m. The show can be accessed online, either live or via podcast.
Openers--Augustana (0-1) dropped its season opener Saturday night at Dubuque, yielding three second-quarter touchdowns in a 39-21 loss, while Central was handed a defeat of record proportions, 47-28 at Wis.-Oshkosh earlier in the day.
The series—Central and Augustana met in the season opener from 2002-05, with each team winning twice. Central holds a 6-4 advantage in the all-time series, which began in 1930. The teams have met three times in NCAA Division III playoff action, with the Vikings prevailing in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in 1984 and sneaking past the Dutch in the 1985 national semifinals at Rock Island, Ill. Central secured a Stagg Bowl berth in 1988 with a double overtime win over the Vikings at Pella.
Central outlasted Augustana 31-23 last year at Pella.
Division III dynamos--Augustana and Central are both playoff regulars. Central has made 20 appearances with a 21-19 record while Augie has made the field 15 times with a 22-11 mark. The Vikings won NCAA titles in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 with Central claiming the 1974 national crown. Since 1975, Central entered 2012 with the second-highest winning percentage of any U.S. college or university since 1975 at .813 (311-71-1) while Augustana was 12th at .751 (276-91-1).
The Vikings—Augustana is expected to put last year’s uncharacteristic 2-8 record in the rearview mirror. Five of the Vikings’ eight losses were by seven points or less. Twelve starters are back but, like Central, Augie is replacing a record-setting quarterback. Graduated starter David Lee set most of the passing marks in the Augustana record book, erasing records set by former NFL MVP Kenny Anderson.
The Vikings displayed a run-oriented offense Saturday, passing just 10 times. Senior Nick Welch was 4-of-8 for 55 yards with one interception and was also the team’s top rusher with 56 yards on eight carries. Freshman Sam Frasco also saw action, rushing six times for 17 yards and completing one of two passes.
“They run the exact same offense as Oshkosh,” coach Jeff McMartin said. “But they’re very option-oriented. They’ve got good athletes and they’re very big up front.”
The Vikings didn’t throw a lot but are capable of airing it out.
“They’ve got some fast wide receivers, so we’re not taking that for granted,” McMartin said.
A veteran defense returns seven starters and includes all-conference junior linebacker Erik Westerberg, who topped last year’s tackle charts with 106. He ranked eighth in Division III with 72 solos. Westerberg made 18 tackles Saturday night at Dubuque, including two tackles for loss, and had a 23-yard fumble return. Senior linebacker Joe Weber was also an all-league choice last year.
“Their defensive line is very physical,” McMartin said. “They’re very skilled.”
McMartin said Augustana pushed Iowa Conference preseason favorite Dubuque Saturday, but yielded TDs on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half and a fumble return.
“They’re a very good football team,” he said. “We’ve really got to come ready to play and we’ve got to improve a lot from last week.”
Restart—Central is eager for a fresh start after yielding a record 644 yards of total offense Saturday, including 28 first-quarter points and 41first-half points, which were also school marks for most allowed. But the Dutch took the field with just six returning starters—Central’s lone all-Iowa Conference defensive player, linebacker Keith Rush (senior, Griswold), is sidelined by injury. The inexperience was evident, but McMartin didn’t fault his players’ effort.
“They never quit,” he said. “That’s important. It’s not an easy thing when things aren’t going the way you want them to go. But part of being a football player is having the ability to focus on one play at a time no matter what the score. I thought we did that.”
And McMartin’s mantra this week is no different than any other: Improve.
“Everybody has to get better,” he said. “We’ve got to come back Monday and find ways to do that. That’s what we can control.”
While the issue was settled early Saturday, and the Wis.-Oshkosh starters began heading to the bench midway through the third quarter, the Dutch nonetheless did regain their footing a bit with four second-half touchdowns.
“We were able to complete some passes and make some good runs,” McMartin said. “We started getting some defensive stops.”
And there were some encouraging individual showings on special teams.
“I thought Kevin Sheldon (sophomore, West Des Moines, Valley HS) did a really good job kicking off,” McMartin said. “Blaine Forsythe (sophomore, Pella) got off some good punts. We have to keep improving but there were some things we can build on. We’ll watch the film and evaluate it. Typically teams do get better between week one and week two.
“We need to help these guys be the best they can be.”
Sheldon averaged 61.2 yards on five kickoffs, with two touchbacks. Forsythe averaged 40.3 yards on seven punts, three of which landed inside the 20-yard line.
McMartin believes in his squad.
“We’re a family and we’re going to go through this as a family,” he said. “I’m confident in these players. They want to win, they want to be good and they know they just have to get better.”
QB options—Central used three quarterbacks Saturday as starter Jack Flaherty (senior, Burlington), Aaron Eiseler (sophomore, Mesa, Ariz., Red Mountain HS) and Brendon Boerm (freshman, Traer, North Tama HS) all saw action. The Dutch aren’t likely to continue that kind of a rotation, McMartin said, but he likes things about all three signal-callers.
Notes—While the Dutch are meeting Augustana for the 11th time, the last time they played a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin team other than the Vikings was in 1954, when they defeated Carthage (Wis.)…Augustana’s long-time home, Ericson Field, is being transformed into the Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex. The dramatic makeover should be completed by the time Central plays at Rock Island in 2013…Strong safety Jason Breon (senior, Anamosa) and cornerback Spencer Boeyink (sophomore, Pella) both notched career highs Saturday with 10 and eight tackles, respectively…Central started eight seniors Saturday, including just three on defense…The last seven times the Dutch lost a season opener, they won the following week. Since 1960, Central is 14-2 in week two following an opening defeat.
QB 13 Jack Flaherty (sr., 6-0, 200)
RB 34 Ross Doehermann (sr., 6-0, 205)
SB 41 Austin Shaver (so., 5-11, 215)
TE 2 Jack Norgaard (so., 6-3, 220)
WR 12 Ben Lechtenberg (jr., 6-6, 225)
WR 18 Blaine Forsythe (so., 6-1, 195)
LT 73 Travis Hook (jr., 6-3, 260)
LG 75 Spenser Fuller (sr., 6-2, 320)
C 67 Anthony Wolf (sr., 6-1, 275)
RG 56 Colton Smith (sr., 5-10, 255)
RT 50 Ryan Collins (so., 6-0, 235)
DE 15 Danny Samson (jr., 5-11, 250)
NG 54 Brody Janssen (so., 6-1, 230)
DE 5 Jack Shipley (jr., 6-2, 235)
OLB 22 Mike Young (jr., 5-11, 190)
ILB 23 Seth Carson (sr., 6-1, 240)
ILB 51 Andrew Weaks (sr., 6-0, 250)
OLB 45 Luke Geneser (jr., 6-0, 215)
CB 10 Eric Larson (so., 6-1, 175)
SS 20 Jason Breon (sr., 5-11, 170)
FS 33 Jake Edelman (jr., 6-0, 175)
CB 7 Spencer Boeyink (so., 6-0, 175)
KO 16 Kevin Sheldon (so., 5-11, 170 )
PAT/ 16 Kevin Sheldon (fr., 5-11, 170 )
H 21 Trent Heetland (sr., 5-11, 180)
P 18 Blaine Forsythe (so., 6-1, 195)
PR 6 Brendon Boerm (fr., 6-0, 160)
KR 27 Josh Osborn (fr., 5-10, 190)
LS-P 18 Mike Young (jr., 5-11, 190)