30 Iowa Conference titles
ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—Quarterback Aaron Eiseler (junior, Mesa, Ariz., Red Mountain HS) completed nine of his first 10 passes as the Central College rolled up a 24-0 halftime lead and posted its first 2013 win in surprisingly lopsided fashion, 38-13 at Augustana College (Ill.) Saturday night.
Eiseler threw for three TDs and ran for another as the Dutch (1-1) put last week’s wrenching 24-20 loss to No. 10 Wis.-Oshkosh in the rear-view mirror.
“Aaron played really well,” coach Jeff McMartin said. “He made good decisions. The line blocked well and gave him time, and the receivers made some nice catches.”
Central didn’t ease off the accelerator until the game was under control, racking up 390 yards of offense to Augustana’s 288. The Dutch kept Augustana (1-1) off the scoreboard until just 9 seconds remained in the third quarter.
“We flew around and played hard,” McMartin said. “I liked what I saw from the defense.”
Eiseler was hot early, but it was the Dutch defense that set the tone early. On Augustana’s second possession, the Vikings marched 80 yards to the Central 1-yard line. But the Dutch dropped Augustana for losses on the next two plays and the Vikings also were penalized for a false start before Conner Murray’s 29-yard field goal try sailed wide.
“That definitely turned the tide, momentum-wise,” McMartin said. “Neither team did much on its first possession and then Augustana got a good drive going. We had to stop and refocus and the guys were able to make a couple of stops. Then we put some pressure on their kicker. That was big.”
Then the Central offense went to work with a 10-play, 80-yard drive. Keegan Frisch (senior, Sumner, Sumner-Fredricksburg HS) caught his first career TD pass, a 19-yard strike, to put the Dutch on the board. A 36-yard Kevin Sheldon (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) field goal at the start of the second quarter and another defensive stop followed before Eiseler found Blaine Forsythe (junior, Pella) on the sideline where he made a leaping grab and sprinted for an 18-yard score to complete a three-play drive.
An interception by linebacker Mike Young (senior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS) set up an 8-yard Eisler keeper to make it 24-0.
Central stretched the advantage to 31-0 when Eiseler fired a 40-yard TD pass to Forsythe to finish a three-play, 56-yard third-quarter possession. Three plays later, linebacker Jordan Wachter (junior, Clive, Waukee HS) picked off a pass to put the Dutch in scoring position yet again but Sheldon’s 33-yard field goal try was wide left.
Augustana quarterback Samuel Frasco completed a 7-yard touchdown pass near the end of the third quarter. But Dutch running back De’Andre Currie (junior, Gilbert, Ariz., Mountain Pointe HS) answered with back-to-back runs of 17 and 37 yards to find the end zone and complete Central’s scoring. Augustana added a final score against the Dutch second unit as Frasco muscled his way in for a 1-yard TD with 5:15 left in the game.
Currie was the game’s leading rusher with 74 yards on 10 carries while Josh Osborn (junior, Burlington) had 65 yards on 12 attempts. Eiseler completed 19 of 25 passes for 214 yards with one interception. Grant McArdle (senior, Red Oak) had five catches for 48 yards while Brendon Boerm (junior, Traer, North Tama HS) had five receptions for 31 yards.
Wachter and linebacker Mitch Schroeder (junior, Lowden, North Cedar HS) each had eight tackles. Defensive backs Bryan Mejia (sophomore, Miami, Fla., Coral Gables HS), Jacob Edleman (senior, Mechanicsville, North Cedar HS) and Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) each had five stops. Larson also had two pass breakups, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Linebacker Keith Rush (senior, Griswold) had two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
“We didn’t give up as many big plays this week,” McMartin said. “Augustana is an option formation, misdirection team. You have to really keep focused. I don’t know that you can completely shut down a team like that but for the most part we did a good job.”
Defensive lineman JJ Kotz (senior, Indianola) had his first career interception, as Central forced four Augustana turnovers.
“If you win the turnover battle and the big-play battle, you’ll win a lot of football games,” McMartin said.
Central has its only open weekend of the season before playing its homecoming contest, a Sept. 28 game with Albion College (Mich.) at 1 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium. The Britons are 1-1, winning their opener against Defiance (Ohio) 32-29 before getting blasted at No. 15 Wheaton (Ill.) Saturday, 66-0. Albion, which stymied Central 35-16 in Michigan last fall, plays host to Aurora (Ill.) Saturday.
“We’ve got to use this next week to start getting ready for Albion,” McMartin said. “It’s a team that beat us last year.
“The key for us is to keep getting better. We want to be a team that improves every week. We’re happy we won and we’ll celebrate that tonight, but tomorrow we start getting ourselves ready for our next game.”