30 Iowa Conference titles
PELLA—Nineteen seniors will make their final regular-season home appearance Saturday as Central College hosts Wartburg College for a 1 p.m. football game at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium.
Central is 4-4 overall and 3-2 in conference action after a 17-point second quarter fueled the Dutch to a 27-10 home victory against Loras College Saturday. Wartburg was held scoreless in the second half against No. 14 Coe College, suffering a 35-7 defeat, and is 5-3 overall with a 3-2 league mark.
Central and Wartburg are in a four-way tie for second place with Simpson College and Buena Vista University. First-place Coe remains unbeaten (5-0) and host Central in the regular-season finale next Saturday.
The series—Wartburg has won six of the last 10 meetings but the Dutch hold a 41-19 lead in the all-time series. The Knights have outlasted Central in the last two matchups, prevailing for a 20-13 win last year and a 20-17 triumph in 2010.
“It’s always been a close, exciting game with two evenly-matched teams giving great effort,” coach Jeff McMartin said.
Senior recognition—During their careers, Central’s 19 seniors have helped the Dutch win a league title, advance to the NCAA playoffs and compile a 29-10 record.
“They’re a special group of young men that has been very loyal and worked extremely hard,” McMartin said. “They’ve been good leaders, keeping the team moving forward, focused and together.”
The Knights—Wartburg boasts the league’s best defense, yielding 290.8 yards per game. The squad’s rushing defense (56.8 yards) ranks fourth in NCAA Division III stats and first in the league. Linebacker Ryan Billings (6-1, 225) has a league-best 13.5 tackles for loss and back-up defensive tackle Chad Crawford (5-10, 240) is tied for fifth in sacks averaging 4.5.
“Wartburg has talent, speed and playmakers on defense,” McMartin said. “They take away a lot of things you want to do and bring a lot of pressure.”
Freshman quarterback Logan Schrader (5-11, 200) ranks fourth in the league in total offense. He’s completed 110 of 177 passes for 1,405 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. On the ground, he’s tallied 186 yards on 85 carries with one score.
“He throws well and runs well and is as mobile of a quarterback as we’ve seen,” McMartin said. “We’ve got to know where he is at all times.”
Wartburg’s rushing offense is the league’s third best, averaging 191.2 yards per game, and features a balanced attacked. Two-time all-league running back Reese Thompson (6-0, 190) ranks seventh in the league with 479 yards on 107 carries (59.9 yards) with seven touchdowns. Fellow running back Brandon Domeyer (6-1, 210) has four scores averaging 40.1 yards and back-up senior Connor Dahlstrom (5-11, 185) is averaging 29.1 yards with one touchdown.
“Like us, Wartburg has a lot of weapons and will utilize them,” McMartin said. “All three of their running backs are efficient and successful. They’ll try to pound you and run over you but they have good moves and can get outside, too. A big offensive line helps their run game go.”
Wartburg averages 207 yards passing and is led by senior wide receiver Curt Hruska (5-11, 180), with 397 yards on 33 catches with three touchdowns.
The Knights are also a threat on special teams. The squad leads the conference in punt return average (9.2 yards) and is second in punting average (34.2 yards).
“Their special teams feed off what they do defensively,” McMartin said. “They’ll put pressure on you with fast, speedy, skilled guys. We have to have great special teams against Wartburg. They’ll take advantage of you if you don’t.”
Wartburg likes to get going early, racking up 137 points in the first half to only 89 points in the second.
“They get off to a very fast start,” McMartin said. “We’ll need to do a good job ourselves of getting off to quick start and not letting the momentum get away from us. We need to make plays early to help our team be the best it can be and to give us a chance to win the second half.”
Dutch D—Central has forced seven turnovers in its last two games. Against Loras, cornerback Spencer Boeyink (sophomore, Pella) blocked a punt at the Duhawks’ 26-yard line, and linebacker Luke Geneser (junior, Granger, Woodward-Granger HS) snagged a pass and ran it back 88 yards to the Loras 11. Both turnovers set up scores for the Dutch.
“Those two plays turned the tide of the football game,” McMartin said. “Turnovers have played a big role in how we’ve done this season and our defense is doing a good job making plays and working hard.”
Central’s total defense ranks third in the league, allowing 348.1 yards per game. Linebacker Mike Young (junior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS) is the team tackles leader with 62, including 12 tackles for a loss of 36 yards.
Offensive arsenal—Six Central players have scored touchdowns this year. Running back Josh Osborn (sophomore, Burlington) is the team’s rushing leader and ranks fifth in the league averaging 64.6 yards while running back Ross Doehrmann (senior, Williamsburg) ranks eighth with 54.8 yards. Quarterback Aaron Eiseler (sophomore, Mesa, Ariz., Red Mountain HS) has rushed for five touchdowns and completed 75 of 127 passes with five TDs.
“We have different weapons so we can spread the ball around a lot,” McMartin said. “It’s something we’ve worked at to get better and it’s harder to defend.
“We need to continue to get first downs, take care of the football and do a good job in the red zone when we get there.”
Kicker Kevin Sheldon (sophomore, West Des Moines, Valley HS) has scored a team-high 47 points. He’s completed 9-of-11 field goals and made 20-of-20 extra point tries. Sheldon leads the league in both categories and was named the conference’s special teams player of the week after tallying nine points against Loras.
Notes—Colton Smith (senior, Kearney, Mo.) moved to starting center and Garrett Veldman (senior, Peoria, Ariz., Brophy College Preparatory) filled Smith’s previous spot at right guard. Zac Miller (freshman, Kansas City, Mo., Liberty North HS) slid up to starting inside linebacker and Brendon Boerm (freshman, Traer, North Tama HS) took back the punt return duties, which he held at the beginning of the year…A win Saturday guarantees Central at least a .500 overall mark. The Dutch haven’t had a losing season since 1960. Central was .500 in 2003 with a 5-5 record.
QB 9 Aaron Eiseler (so., 6-0, 195)
RB 30 Ross Doehrmann (sr., 6-0, 205)
SB 41 Austin Shaver (so., 5-11, 215)
TE 2 Jack Norgaard (so., 6-3, 220)
WR 12 Ben Lechtenberg (sr., 6-6, 225)
WR 18 Blaine Forsythe (so., 6-1, 195)
or 6 Brendon Boerm (fr., 6-0, 180)
LT 73 Travis Hook (jr., 6-3, 260)
LG 50 Ryan Collins (so., 6-0, 235)
C 56 Colton Smith (sr., 5-10, 255)
RG 71 Garrett Veldman (sr., 6-4, 265)
RT 63 Matt Schrafel (6-2, 260, jr.)
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 (jr., 6-1, 240)
ILB 47 Zac Miller (fr., 5-9, 185)
OLB 45 Luke Geneser (jr., 6-0, 215)
CB 10 Eric Larson (so., 6-1, 175)
SS 40 Jacob Tune (so., 6-1, 190)
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 (so., 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, 180)
KR 28 Josh Osborn (so., 5-8, 195)
LS-P 22 Mike Young (jr., 5-11, 190)
LS-FG 73 Travis Hook (jr., 6-3, 260)
2012 Central College football schedule
4-4 overall, 3-2 Iowa Conference
Sept. 1 Wis.-Oshkosh Oshkosh, Wis. L, 47-28
Sept. 8 Augustana (Ill.) Pella W, 17-10
Sept. 22 Albion (Mich.) Albion, Mich. L, 35-16
Sept. 29 Dubuque Pella W, 31-24
Oct. 6 Simpson Pella L, 21-18
Oct. 13 Buena Vista Storm Lake L, 30-25
Oct. 20 Luther Decorah W, 31-14
Oct. 27 Loras Pella W, 27-10
Nov. 3 Wartburg Pella 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 Coe Cedar Rapids noon