30 Iowa Conference titles
PELLA — Central College fans can preview the Dutch football team as well as hear some familiar names as the squad conducts a controlled scrimmage against a team of alumni players.
More than 45 former Dutch players have indicated they will participate in the scrimmage which starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium. Admission is free.
It’s the first time Central has staged an alumni contest since 2009.
“It’s been a great tradition,” said coach Jeff McMartin, a 1990 Central graduate who will definitely not be playing in the scrimmage. There are 11 Central grads on the 12-man Dutch coaching staff. “It’s always great to get the alumni back. It will be fun to have a chance to compete against and with them.”
The alumni have been part of the Dutch football tradition that has produced 30 Iowa Conference championships and 20 NCAA Division III playoff appearances, without a losing season since 1960.
The game is also an opportunity for the Dutch to continue their preparations for the Sept. 7 season opener with powerhouse Wis.-Oshkosh. Central returns 15 starters eager to improve on last year’s 5-5 mark. The squad is off to a good start, McMartin said.
“We’ve had a good camp,” he said. “We’ve worked on a lot of aspects of what we need to do get better. The players have a great attitude and they’re very focused. I like their mental preparation.
“There’s a good vibe in camp yet we know we’ve got to get better. We’re not ready for a game yet.”
Grad defying the odds—Most of the players on the alumni squad graduated within the past five years. One who didn’t is defensive lineman David Norvell, a Newton native now living in Largo, Fla. Not only is Norvell 53, he’s twice survived Stage IV cancer. He’s been training throughout the summer and in support of his efforts, he’s organized a fund drive called Third Time Player, with the donations going to the Newton High School athletics department. For more information, go to his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/david.norvell.94 .