30 Iowa Conference titles
PELLA—Clutching a share of second place in the Iowa Conference, the Central College football team travels to No. 10 Coe College Saturday for the last game of the regular season.
Coe, 9-0 overall with a 6-0 league mark, secured its first outright conference crown and automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships with a 35-7 triumph at Luther College Saturday. The Dutch held on for a 31-28 win against Wartburg College to improve to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in league action.
Central shares second place with Buena Vista University (5-4 overall, 4-2 conference), and a win would keep the Dutch there. But also poised to snag runner-up honors with 3-3 league records are Wartburg, Simpson College and the University of Dubuque.
The series—Central holds a 13-7-2 lead in the all-time series with Coe, which began in 1930. The Kohawks prevailed 37-28 in 2010 but the Dutch came out on top in Pella last year, 38-35.
The Kohawks— Coe has the league’s top offense and defense, earning 468 yards while allowing 293.8, including a stingy 83-yard average on the ground.
“Coe is very sound defensively,” coach Jeff McMartin said. “They don’t have one bad tackler and you don’t see them out of position.”
All-America defensive end Frank Weymiller (6-2, 240) and linebacker Zach West (6-0, 220) have a team-high 54 tackles. Weymiller has made 39 solo stops and has a league-best seven sacks. Coe returned only four starters defensively but ranks third in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to an average 10.8 points per game.
“Coe doesn’t give up a lot of points,” McMartin said. “They force you into executing well and that’s the great challenge.”
Offensively, first-year starting quarterback Jared McNutt (6-4, 215) has completed 160 of 228 passes (70.2 percent) for 2,169 yards, with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. His passing efficiency (171.75) ranks ninth in the NCAA stats.
“He’s a good decision maker,” McMartin said. “He has a good arm and sees the field well. Coe does a good job coaching and they put him in a position to be successful with a talented group of receivers, a big running back and a good offensive line. They all play significant roles in their success.”
Senior running back Brendan Leiran (6-1, 212) has scored 17 touchdowns, rushing for 791 yards on 171 carries (113 yards per game). Senior wide receiver Jared Kuehner (6-5, 230) is the top target in the air with 50 catches for 788 yards and eight touchdowns.
“Leiran has good speed but is also very physical,” McMartin said. “He sees holes well and is hard to bring down.”
McMartin said Coe will change tempos a lot with a no-huddle offense. They’ll also race out of the gate. Coe has racked up 239 points in the first half, including 143 in the second quarter alone, and only 113 points in the second half.
“They have fast-strike potential,” McMartin said. “They’ve won games by halftime in some instances.”
Takeaways— The Kohawks have a league-best plus-20 turnover margin. Coe has gained 27 turnovers while only committing seven, which have all been interceptions. Central is even with 23 turnovers gained and 23 lost.
“Coe doesn’t turn it over very much and they have a really good defensive line that’ll put tremendous pressure on your quarterback,” McMartin said. “We have to be responsible taking care of the ball. Their offense is good enough to put points on you if you give it up.”
Fourth-quarter drama—Central scored on its first three possessions and had a 31-14 lead with less than six minutes left when Wartburg wiggled back into the game Saturday.
“We had chances to put the game away and didn’t do that, which left ourselves open and turned it into a close game,” McMartin said. “We gave up some untimely plays and were unable to secure an onside kick. We made it hard on ourselves.”
But the Dutch battled. Down 31-28, Wartburg was on the Central 12 at fourth-and-two and had the potential game-winning touchdown pass called back for a holding penalty. The Knights had another chance but the Dutch pressured the quarterback and Wartburg threw the ball away.
“We battled hard and found a way to win,” McMartin said. “Getting that fifth win was a bonus.”
The victory guaranteed Central of at least a .500 mark. Central hasn’t had a losing season for 52 years.
From 0-60—The Dutch give everything they have for four quarters.
“All season long the guys have played hard and that gives you a chance,” McMartin said. “You don’t always execute all 60 minutes but if you play hard all 60 minutes you’re going to get some opportunities.”
Dutch numbers—Central forced six Wartburg turnovers Saturday, the most the Knights have committed this year. Defensive back Eric Larson (sophomore, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) forced a fumble and had a 27-yard pick. Defensive back Jacob Edleman (junior, Mechanicsville, North Cedar HS) has recorded an interception in each of the last three games and has a team-high four picks for 66 yards.
Central is averaging 373.4 yards of offense, including 196.8 yards rushing. The squad’s ground game is second in the league behind Coe. Running back Josh Osborn (sophomore, Burlington) has 537 yards on 110 carries with two touchdowns and running back Ross Doehrmann (senior, Williamsburg) has 508 yards on 111 attempts, also with two touchdowns. Osborn and Doehrmann are sixth and eighth in the league, respectively.
Quarterback Aaron Eiseler (sophomore, Mesa, Ariz., Red Mountain HS) is seventh in the league in total offense (169.9 yards). He’s completed 90 of 151 passes for 1,096 yards and six touchdowns.
The Dutch rank 39th in the nation and second in the league averaging 7.56 tackles for loss per game. Linebacker Mike Young (junior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS) has tallied 12 stops for a loss of 36 yards and defensive lineman Danny Samson (junior, Baxter, CMB HS) has 10.5 tackles for loss totaling 55 yards.
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 51 Andrew Weaks (sr., 6-2, 220)
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
5-4 overall, 4-2 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 W, 31-28
Nov. 10 Coe Cedar Rapids noon