September 29, 2009

'Polk boys' have Central rolling

More news about: Central
Nate Snead has accounted for 718 yards of total offense for Central in the team's 4-0 start.
Central athletics photo

It’s been said that life isn’t always about the destination, but rather the journey.  

For four players at Central, the journey took them to four separate schools before bringing them back together as major contributors on the 4-0 Dutch football team.

Following a runner-up finish by the Southeast Polk Rams in the 2006 Class 4A Iowa State Championship football game, teammates Brett Wilken, Shane Wong, Nate Snead and Jake Viggers went their own way.

Wilken went off to the University of Iowa with no plans to continue his football or baseball career.  Wong went to play football for Quincy -- an NAIA school of 1,500 students in Illinois.   Snead decided to try out for the football team at Division I non-scholarship Drake where he played special teams and took a few reps at quarterback.  Viggers chose Central, just 30 minutes from Southeast Polk, where he planned to play kicker.  
Four friends and teammates headed in four directions with memories of battles on the gridiron still firmly planted in their minds.

Central’s 2007 season was the most successful season in recent history at 12-1 and the 5’10 150 pound Viggers found himself directly in the limelight.

First, it was a 30-yard field goal in triple overtime that got the Dutch past a high-powered Dubuque team.  Two weeks later it was Viggers’s 25-yard field goal against perennial rival Wartburg with three seconds left that gave the Dutch the win and their second straight 10-0 regular season.

Two game-winning field goals in three weeks, for a 5-10 150-pound freshman can do a lot for recruiting.

Following the season, as many “Polk boys” do, the four former teammates found themselves back in the weight room at their alma mater over Christmas break talking about life and football. Snead had gone through three coaches in his short stint at Drake and all of the guys were looking for a more steady, family-like atmosphere.

Viggers talked of the success he experienced at Central and they reminisced about the good old days at Polk.  Viggers knew Snead, Wong and Wilken would find the family atmosphere they were looking for at Central.  Then, in a way Rolling Stones might talk about a reunion tour, Wilken, Snead, Wong and Viggers thought they all might look good in Dutch red.

“People could tell we enjoyed playing together,” Viggers said reminiscing on his Polk days. “And we felt like bringing that to Central.”

Their first year back together at Central didn’t exactly mirror the success they experienced together in their 12-2 senior year of high school.

After going undefeated in the IIAC in 2006 and 2007, the Dutch stumbled in 2008 to 4-4 in conference and 6-4 overall.  Snead was injured in the first game and never played the rest of the season.

“Last year there seemed to be different groups within the team,” said Snead.  “Now, we’re a close knit group--we all hang out together.”

Wong garnered All-Conference honorable mention recognition as a freshman but the team wasn’t playing real strong together.

This year is a different story.  Wilken, Snead, Wong and Viggers are all solid leaders and the team has gelled in their 4-0 start.  Wilken is averaging 25.3 yards per kickoff return.  Viggers is 11-14 on PATs and 4-5 on field goals with a long of 40 yards.  Wong has 13 tackles and 5.5 for loss along with four sacks and three pass breakups.  Snead, while taking a majority of the snaps at quarterback is averaging 179.5 yards of total offense a game with seven touchdowns on the season.  

“They’re all great guys and have been a super fit for the program,” said head coach Jeff McMartin.
As for who gets the credit for this reunion of sorts amongst these former high school teammates, “I think you can credit Jake for a lot of that,” said coach Jeff McMartin.

Another “Polk boy” who was in the weight room that summer was Snead’s younger brother Jeremy.

He ended up at Central too, entering as a freshman while his older brother entered as a sophomore the same year.  On Saturday, the Snead brothers connected often as Jeremy tied the single-game mark at Central with 12 receptions.

“He’s one of the main reasons I came to Central,” said Nate Snead who played one year of high school football with his brother.  “I knew if I could play with him it would allow me to work harder and develop to my full potential.”

Two other players looking to reach their potential are freshmen Brian Johnson and Drew Bauer -- two Polk players who dressed but didn’t play in that 2006 high school championship game.

“Our team goal is to take care of winning the Iowa conference and getting the automatic bid to the playoffs,” said Nate Snead.  “But our ultimate goal is to win a national championship.”
Friends on a journey, who hope this year’s destination isn’t second place.

Ending the deep drought
UW-Whitewater quarterback Jeff Donovan connected with wideout Jordan Wells on a 77-yard pass during their 42-7 victory over Puget Sound. That hookup is the longest scoring pass in 40 games, dating to Oct. 21, 2006 when Justin Jacobs connected with Derek Stanley on an 80 yard touchdown in a 49-21 win at UW-Platteville.

Now, here’s the kicker
Whitewater senior placekicker Jeff Schebler, who went 6-for-6 on point after tries, moved into first place in the UW-Whitewater and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in career scoring, with his present total of 369. He broke the marks formerly held by Whitewater running back Chad Wurth (366, 2000-2003). Schebler is just 14 points behind the NCAA Division III career mark of 383, held by Mike Zimmerman of Mount Union (2005-2007).

One man wrecking crew
Linfield cornerback Drew Fisher was a one-man wrecking crew in the Wildcats' 37-21 victory against Southern Oregon. The sophomore intercepted three passes, made five tackles and recovered a fumble. The Linfield defense held Southern Oregon to just 285 total yards including 123 through the air. Fisher’s three interceptions in the game ties him with six other players in the Wildcats record book.

Running back by committee
Willamette used a running back by committee game plan on Saturday to dismantle La Verne 52-7.  18 players carried the ball for Willamette in totaling 395 yards and two touchdowns.  Chad Pollard and Kevin Ramay each tallied two touchdowns while Jamiere Abney and Tony Krikorian each added one score.

747 yards passing
With a calculator and a glance at the UW-River Falls versus Alma boxscore, it could be said that Alma quarterback Mackenzie McGrady completed 54 passes for 747 yards in their 40-27 loss.  The only problem is two of those passes were completed to the River Falls defense which returned them 99 and 81 yards for touchdowns.  The Falcons defense notched five interceptions against Alma.

It’s all in the name
Bethel wide receiver Joel Quick lived up to his name on Saturday in leading the Royals to a 29-10 victory over Concordia-Moorhead.  Quick tallied six catches for 149 yards and four touchdowns including catches of 53, 35, 34 and 10 yards.  The four touchdowns were thrown by three players including quarterback Josh Aakre, running back Logan Flannery and wide receiver Reid Velo.

Go deep!
Dubuque wide receiver DeMacus Fleming put on a show Saturday in a 42-19 victory.  The sophomore receiver hauled in five receptions for 240 yards and three touchdowns averaging 48 yards per catch.  Dubuque quarterback Colton Hansen threw for 366 yards and five touchdowns to one interception.  Flemings three touchdown catches went for 74, 73 and 60 yards.

Did you know:

  • St. John’s beat Gustavus (38-10) for the 22nd time in 23 opportunities including 11 straight at Gustavus.
  • Central wide receiver Jeremy Snead had 10 catches in the first half of a 24-6 victory over Coe.  He finished with 137 yards and two touchdowns tying the single-game mark of 12 catches set by Randy Busscher against Ferris State (Mich.) Sept. 21, 1974.
  • St. Thomas kicker Brady Beeson was 9-for-9 on PATs to tie a Tommie school record set by Jim Libera against Augsburg in 1989.
  • The 48-0 win by UW-La Crosse over Missouri S&T is the Eagles' largest margin of victory by shutout since a 56-0 victory at Huron University in 1997. UW-L's last shutout came in 2007 with a 24-0 win over UW-Oshkosh.
  • Wartburg quarterback Nick Yordi completed 31 of 42 for 304 yards and broke his own single-game school mark of 30 completions set in a 2007 loss to Augsburg.
  • St. Olaf receiver Antonio Jennings hauled in a 90-yard touchdown with 4:28 remaining which turned out to be the game winner against Augsburg, 24-14.  Jennings finished with five catches for 162 yards and the score.
  • UW-Stout held Eureka to a school record -59 yards rushing in a 40-6 victory -- the previous school record for fewest rushing yards was minus-37 yards in 2000 against Lakeland.
It’s been said that life isn’t always about the destination, but rather the journey.  

For four players at Central, the journey took them to four separate schools before bringing them back together as major contributors on the 4-0 Dutch football team.

Following a runner-up finish by the Southeast Polk Rams in the 2006 Class 4A Iowa State Championship football game, teammates Brett Wilken, Shane Wong, Nate Snead and Jake Viggers went their own way.

Wilken went off to the University of Iowa with no plans to continue his football or baseball career.  Wong went to play football for Quincy -- an NAIA school of 1,500 students in Illinois.   Snead decided to try out for the football team at Division I non-scholarship Drake where he played special teams and took a few reps at quarterback.  Viggers chose Central, just 30 minutes from Southeast Polk, where he planned to play kicker.  

Four friends and teammates headed in four directions with memories of battles on the gridiron still firmly planted in their minds.

Central’s 2007 season was the most successful season in recent history at 12-1 and the 5’10 150 pound Viggers found himself directly in the limelight.

First, it was a 30-yard field goal in triple overtime that got the Dutch past a high-powered Dubuque team.  Two weeks later it was Viggers’s 25-yard field goal against perennial rival Wartburg with three seconds left that gave the Dutch the win and their second straight 10-0 regular season.

Two game-winning field goals in three weeks, for a 5’10 150 pound freshman can do a lot for recruiting.

Following the season, as many “Polk boys” do, the four former teammates found themselves back in the weight room at their alma mater over Christmas break talking about life and football. Snead had gone through three coaches in his short stint at Drake and all of the guys were looking for a more steady, family-like atmosphere.

image2Viggers talked of the success he experienced at Central and they reminisced about the good old days at Polk.  Viggers knew Snead, Wong and Wilken would find the family atmosphere they were looking for at Central.  Then, in a way Rolling Stones might talk about a reunion tour, Wilken, Snead, Wong and Viggers thought they all might look good in Dutch red.

“People could tell we enjoyed playing together,” Viggers said reminiscing on his Polk days. “And we felt like bringing that to Central.”

Their first year back together at Central didn’t exactly mirror the success they experienced together in their 12-2 senior year of high school.

After going undefeated in the IIAC in 2006 and 2007, the Dutch stumbled in 2008 to 4-4 in conference and 6-4 overall.  Snead was injured in the first game and never played the rest of the season.

“Last year there seemed to be different groups within the team,” said Snead.  “Now, we’re a close knit group--we all hang out together.”

Wong garnered All-Conference honorable mention recognition as a freshman but the team wasn’t playing real strong together.

This year is a different story.  Wilken, Snead, Wong and Viggers are all solid leaders and the team has gelled in their 4-0 start.  Wilken is averaging 25.3 yards per kickoff return.  Viggers is 11-14 on PATs and 4-5 on field goals with a long of 40 yards.  Wong has 13 tackles and 5.5 for loss along with four sacks and three pass breakups.  Snead, while taking a majority of the snaps at quarterback is averaging 179.5 yards of total offense a game with seven touchdowns on the season.  

“They’re all great guys and have been a super fit for the program,” said head coach Jeff McMartin.
As for who gets the credit for this reunion of sorts amongst these former high school teammates, “I think you can credit Jake for a lot of that,” said coach Jeff McMartin.

Another “Polk boy” who was in the weight room that summer was Snead’s younger brother Jeremy.

He ended up at Central too, entering as a freshman while his older brother entered as a sophomore the same year.  On Saturday, the Snead brothers connected often as Jeremy tied the single-game mark at Central with 12 receptions.

“He’s one of the main reasons I came to Central,” said Nate Snead who played one year of high school football with his brother.  “I knew if I could play with him it would allow me to work harder and develop to my full potential.”

Two other players looking to reach their potential are freshmen Brian Johnson and Drew Bauer -- two Polk players who dressed but didn’t play in that 2006 high school championship game.

“Our team goal is to take care of winning the Iowa conference and getting the automatic bid to the playoffs,” said Nate Snead.  “But our ultimate goal is to win a national championship.”
Friends on a journey, who hope this year’s destination isn’t second place.

Ending the deep drought
UW-Whitewater quarterback Jeff Donovan connected with wideout Jordan Wells on a 77-yard pass during their 42-7 victory over Puget Sound. That hookup is the longest scoring pass in 40 games, dating to Oct. 21, 2006 when Justin Jacobs connected with Derek Stanley on an 80 yard touchdown in a 49-21 win at UW-Platteville.

Now, here’s the kicker
Whitewater senior placekicker Jeff Schebler, who went 6-for-6 on point after tries, moved into first place in the UW-Whitewater and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in career scoring, with his present total of 369. He broke the marks formerly held by Whitewater running back Chad Wurth (366, 2000-2003). Schebler is just 14 points behind the NCAA Division III career mark of 383, held by Mike Zimmerman of Mount Union (2005-2007).

One man wrecking crew
Linfield cornerback Drew Fisher was a one-man wrecking crew in the Wildcats' 37-21 victory against Southern Oregon. The sophomore intercepted three passes, made five tackles and recovered a fumble. The Linfield defense held Southern Oregon to just 285 total yards including 123 through the air. Fisher’s three interceptions in the game ties him with six other players in the Wildcats record book.

Running back by committee
Willamette used a running back by committee game plan on Saturday to dismantle La Verne 52-7.  18 players carried the ball for Willamette in totaling 395 yards and two touchdowns.  Chad Pollard and Kevin Ramay each tallied two touchdowns while Jamiere Abney and Tony Krikorian each added one score.

747 yards passing
With a calculator and a glance at the UW-River Falls versus Alma boxscore, it could be said that Alma quarterback Mackenzie McGrady completed 54 passes for 747 yards in their 40-27 loss.  The only problem is two of those passes were completed to the River Falls defense which returned them 99 and 81 yards for touchdowns.  The Falcons defense notched five interceptions against Alma.

It’s all in the name
Bethel wide receiver Joel Quick lived up to his name on Saturday in leading the Royals to a 29-10 victory over Concordia-Moorhead.  Quick tallied six catches for 149 yards and four touchdowns including catches of 53, 35, 34 and 10 yards.  The four touchdowns were thrown by three players including quarterback Josh Aakre, running back Logan Flannery and wide receiver Reid Velo.

Go deep!
Dubuque wide receiver DeMacus Fleming put on a show Saturday in a 42-19 victory.  The sophomore receiver hauled in five receptions for 240 yards and three touchdowns averaging 48 yards per catch.  Dubuque quarterback Colton Hansen threw for 366 yards and five touchdowns to one interception.  Flemings three touchdown catches went for 74, 73 and 60 yards.

Did you know:
• St. John’s beat Gustavus (38-10) for the 22nd time in 23 opportunities including 11 straight at Gustavus.
• Central wide receiver Jeremy Snead had 10 catches in the first half of a 24-6 victory over Coe.  He finished with 137 yards and two touchdowns tying the single-game mark of 12 catches set by Randy Busscher against Ferris State (Mich.) Sept. 21, 1974.
• St. Thomas kicker Brady Beeson was 9-for-9 on PATs to tie a Tommie school record set by Jim Libera against Augsburg in 1989
• The 48-0 win by UW-La Crosse over Missouri S&T is the Eagles' largest margin of victory by shutout since a 56-0 victory at Huron University in 1997. UW-L's last shutout came in 2007 with a 24-0 win over UW-Oshkosh.
• Wartburg quarterback Nick Yordi completed 31 of 42 for 304 yards and broke his own single-game school mark of 30 completions set in a 2007 loss to Augsburg.
• St. Olaf receiver Antonio Jennings hauled in a 90-yard touchdown with 4:28 remaining which turned out to be the game winner against Augsburg, 24-14.  Jennings finished with five catches for 162 yards and the score.
• UW-Stout held Eureka to a school record -59 yards rushing in a 40-6 victory -- the previous school record for fewest rushing yards was minus-37 yards in 2000 against Lakeland.

 

Josh Smith photo

Josh Smith has covered Division III sports for more than five years. He writes for multiple publications, including D3football.com beginning in 2012. He has won multiple awards for reporting and photography and lives in southern Wisconsin near UW-Whitewater, where he graduated with a degree in print journalism.

2011-12 columns: Jason Galleske
2010: Tim Walsh
2003-09: Adam Johnson
1999-2000: Don Stoner 

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