30 Iowa Conference titles
Looking to build on a strong start that was disrupted by a two-week layoff, the Central College football team returns home to take on Albion College (Mich.) Saturday.
It’s homecoming for the Dutch, who are wrapping up their non-conference schedule. Game time is 1 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium. Central is 1-1 after rolling up a 38-13 victory at Augustana College (Ill.) Sept. 14. Albion is 2-1 after outscoring Aurora (Ill.) 38-20 Saturday.
On the air, on the Web—Veteran sportscaster Trevor Castle is in his 13th year of calling the play-by-play for the Dutch 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 on demand.
The series—Albion (Mich.) defeated Central in Michigan last year, 35-16 to even the teams’ all-time series at 1-1. The Dutch edged the Brits 13-12 in Pella in 2008.
The Brits—Albion, 6-4 a year ago, opened 2013 with a 32-29 victory over Defiance (Ohio), getting a fourth-quarter TD. The Brits were overwhelmed at No. 11-ranked Wheaton (Ill.) Sept. 14, but Dutch coach Jeff McMartin notes that they were without starting quarterback Dominic Bona.
However, Bona returned last Saturday and fueled Albion’s victory over Aurora. The sophomore completed 28 of 42 passes for a career-high 329 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He was tabbed the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association offensive player of the week. For the season, he’s connected on 42 of 76 passes for 522 yards.
Meanwhile Saturday, the Brits got 111 yards rushing on just 12 carries from 5-8 sophomore Michael Czarnecki and 41 yards on 10 attempts by 5-6 senior Darrin Williams. Czarnecki has gained 168 yards on 25 carries with one score in three games while Williams has rushed for 120 yards and three TDs on 29 attempts. Williams is also the leading receiver with 15 catches for 150 yards and returns punts and kicks as well.
“Their quarterback is a great athlete,” McMartin said. “He runs and throws well. And they’ve got a good tailback (Williams). They get him the ball every way they can. They’ve also got two very good wide receivers.”
Senior inside linebacker Brett McCarty tops the tackle charts with 33, including 28 solos with two tackles for loss, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Senior cornerback Mike Vandermus was named the MIAA defensive player of the week following the season opener at Defiance. He returned a fumble 33 yards for a score and also made 10 tackles.
After last year’s setback, McMartin said his players are well aware of Albion’s talent level.
“They’ve got our attention,” he said. “We need to play well. They beat us last year with basically the same guys on offense. They have some new players on defense but (McCarty) is a really active player and so is defensive end (Seth Hubbard). And they’ve got two cornerbacks back who did a good job against us last year.
“It’s a good team. They play a physical style of football.”
Productive practice time—McMartin said with an open weekend the Dutch didn’t spend much time thinking about specific opponents last week.
“We really tried to rest a few of the guys who are banged up,” he said. “And we’ve worked on a couple of different things. Our focus has been on us, and doing the things that will make us a better football team.”
Lineups are always subject to change, but the Dutch players are starting to settle into their roles.
“We’re getting closer to that,” McMartin said. “We’re still only two games into the season but we’ve practiced a lot. We just have to keep working at it and seeing improvement. We still have guys competing for every spot and we look at personnel every day. On offense we want to keep working on execution, eliminating penalties and turnovers. Defensively, we want to make sure we’re lined up right, doing our techniques correctly and not giving up big plays.”
Miller out, Schrafel back—The Dutch will still likely be without linebacker Zac Miller (sophomore, Kansas City, Mo., Liberty North HS) Saturday although he’s expected back soon. But the Dutch get a big boost in the offensive line with the return of senior Matt Schrafel (Cedar Rapids, Washington HS), who was cleared to practice last week after being sidelined the first two games with a medical condition. He’s a two-year starter, although not yet listed in this year’s starting lineup.
“We’re thrilled for Matt and excited to have him back,” McMartin said. “It’s good to have a senior starter back because we need to continue to develop depth in the offensive line.”
Stat leaders—Through just two games, Central is in the middle of the pack in many Iowa Conference statistical categories but making some noteworthy gains in special teams, long a Central emphasis. Behind punter Blaine Forsythe (junior, Pella), the Dutch are first in team punting—he’s averaging 39.0 yards on 10 kicks--and are also first in punt returns (15.5 yards) and in kickoff coverage (43.8 yards).
Brendon Boerm (junior, Traer, North Tama HS) is first in receptions per game (7.5) and Kevin Sheldon (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) is first in kick scoring (8.0 points per game). Linebacker Mitch Schroeder (junior, Lowden, North Cedar HS) is second in tackles (11.0 per game).
Homecoming honorees—Central is inducting four new members of its athletics hall of honor this weekend and two are former Dutch football players. Brian O’Donnell ’70 was a standout defensive back who was paralyzed due to an injury in the 1968 homecoming game but went on to become a successful coach and guidance counselor. Mark Kacmarynski ’96 was a two-time national player of the year finalist and the top rusher in school history with 5,855 yards. Also being inducted are golfers John Bermel ’84 and Cindy (Kline) Olson ’88. A banquet will be staged Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Graham Conference Center and the honorees’ plaques will be unveiled Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Ron Schipper Fitness Center lobby. The honorees will also be introduced at halftime of Saturday’s games. Reservations are required for the banquet (call 641-628-5226 for more information).
Notes—The Dutch have won eight of their last nine homecoming games. They haven’t lost one since 2008…Central is the only conference team in action Saturday. The other seven league teams had games last week and are off this week. Conference play begins next Saturday, Oct. 5…The 38 points Central scored at Augustana were the most the team had put up since a 49-17 win over Cornell Oct. 22, 2011. The Dutch had erupted for a 70-7 victory at Loras the preceding week.