30 Iowa Conference titles
PELLA—Central College defensive lineman Danny Samson (Baxter, CMB HS) was named Iowa Conference football defensive MVP and was joined by five teammates as first-team all-conference, with three others earning second-team honors and two more honorable mention.
Samson is the 15th Dutch football player in school history to earn league MVP honors, dating back to Vern Den Herder in 1970. The MVP was a single award from1968-2009, before being separated into offensive and defensive awards beginning in 2010. Samson is Central’s second defensive MVP (Shane Wong, 2010) since the additional designation.
“Danny had an exceptional year,” coach Jeff McMartin said. “Every year he’s been here he’s gotten better and the pinnacle was this season. I am very happy for his success and Danny would be the first to credit his teammates and the entire defense. You have to play well as a team and as a unit to have individual success and our defense played very well.”
Samson led the conference with 11.5 sacks over 10 games (1.15 per game), four more than the next closest competitor, for a total of 73 yards lost. He led the league in tackles for loss with 21.5 for 96 yards, 3.5 more than the runner-up. Samson was also tied for second in fumbles recovered with two. Additionally, he recorded three of Central’s 11 blocked kicks—the second most blocks by an NCAA team.
Samson was twice named to the D3football.com team of the week (Oct. 2, Oct. 23) and conference defensive player of the week (Sept. 29, Oct. 20). He was a 2012 first-team selection, as well.
Joining Samson on the first team was running back Josh Osborn (junior, Burlington)—the only Dutch player on the offensive team—defensive back Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS), linebacker Mike Young (senior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS), fellow defensive lineman Jack Shipley (senior, Tipton) and kicker Kevin Sheldon (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS).
Osborn was second in the league in rushing with 936 yards on 185 carries (93.6 yards per game). He finished third in all-purpose yards with 1,318 (131.8 per game) and fourth in scoring touchdowns with nine. Osborn’s 199 yards rushing in the regular-season finale rank 16th in school history, while his 37 carries in that game tied for fourth. He earned honorable mention recognition last season.
“Josh had a great year both running and catching the ball,” McMartin said. “He’s a good blocker, a great teammate and we’re excited about what’s in store for him.”
Larson was second in the conference with 14 passes defended (12 pass breakups, two interceptions) and tied for first in pass breakups. He contributed to Central’s blocked kicks tally with three and was fifth on the team with 52 tackles. Larson was a second-team pick in 2012.
“Eric did an outstanding job as a corner and special teams player for us this year,” said McMartin. “He was a real shutdown corner and could match up with any receiver in league. He’s got the size and the speed to be an impact player.”
Young was 14th in the league with 68 tackles, fourth in tackles for loss with 13 for 46 yards and tied for second with two fumbles recovered. He added two sacks for 12 yards, two interceptions and two pass breakups to fill out the stat sheet. Young was a 2012 second-team honoree.
“Mike did an excellent job flying around the ball and making plays,” McMartin said. “He was all over the field and did a little bit of everything for us.”
Shipley tied for ninth in the conference in both sacks and tackles for loss. He tallied 3.5 sacks for 12 yards and eight tackles for loss for 20 yards. Shipley added one pass breakup, two quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.
“Jack had an outstanding year and career,” said McMartin. “He came into our program as a defensive back and shifted to defensive lineman. He really grew into that position and made a great impact.”
Sheldon was second among kickers in scoring with 59 points on 29 extra points and 10 field goals (10-of-15). He was fifth in scoring among all players. It is Sheldon’s third consecutive first-team honor.
“Kevin was very consistent all year, which is exactly what you want in a kicker,” McMartin said. “He improved on kickoffs and was solid on field goals and extra points. It was another step in the right direction.”
Second-team honorees include offensive lineman Travis Hook (senior, Grundy Center), defensive back Jake Edleman (senior, Mechanicsville, North Cedar HS) and linebacker Keith Rush (senior, Griswold).
A 2013 co-captain, Hook started all 10 games on the Dutch offensive line, while Edleman finished 37th in the league with 51 tackles and Rush was third in both sacks and tackles for loss with 6.5 for 44 yards and 16.5 for 74 yards, respectively. Rush was a first-team selection in 2011 and received honorable mention in 2010.
“Travis was the leader of our offensive line,” said McMartin. “He made all of the calls. We moved him around and he really solidified the middle of our line.
“Jake has continued to get better as a free safety. He has great football speed, covers the field well and plays smart.
“Our defense dramatically improved from last year to this year and a big reason for that was Keith’s return. He has a great motor, plays hard and is very consistent. He does a great job rushing the passer and disrupting things. He’s a warrior.”
Honorable mention distinction went to defensive lineman Spencer Matlock (senior, Naperville, Ill., Waubonsie Valley HS) and defensive back Jason Breon (senior, Anamosa).
“Both Jason and Spencer had great senior years coming back from injury,” McMartin said. “The best game of Jason’s career might have been against Coe. He played strong against the run, as well. Spencer had his best season. He was a real force in the middle. His presence made our defense a lot stronger.”
The Dutch finished the season with a 6-4 overall mark, the school’s 50th winning season since 1961. Central was 4-3 in league play, part of a four-way tie in third place.