November 1, 2010

Central faces league leader in regular-season finale

More news about: Central

PELLA, Iowa—The assignment is simple but the challenge is huge as the Central College football team caps its regular season by facing first-place Wartburg College Saturday in a clash of nationally ranked teams.

On the line for the Dutch is a share of the Iowa Conference title and a potential NCAA Division III playoff berth. A loss ends Central's season as the Dutch have a bye in the last week of conference play.

Game time is 1 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium.

Central (8-1 overall, 6-1 conference) trails Wartburg (8-0 overall, 6-0 conference) by a game in the league standings and is even in the loss column with Coe College.  The Dutch are coming off a 35-7 victory at Buena Vista Saturday while Wartburg held off rival Luther at Waverly, 24-18.

Rankings—Central is up to No. 16 in the AFCA Division III coaches' poll and No. 17 in the D3football.com rankings. Wartburg is No. 13 in the AFCA rankings and shares No. 13 in D3football.com while Coe is No. 18 in the AFCA poll and No. 16 in D3football.com.

On the air, on the Web—Trevor Castle will call the play-by-play of Saturday's game on KRLS-FM (92.1) and 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. A delayed telecast is offered to Pella Mediacom customers through PTV 12 next Tuesday at 1 p.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m.

Title totals-- The Dutch have won or shared conference titles in four of the past five seasons and have 30 league crowns overall. Central has earned 20 NCAA Division III playoff berths. Wartburg's last conference title was in 2008, when the Knights won it outright.

The Knights—Wartburg has been dominant in 2010 and was particularly impressive in a 31-21 road victory at Coe Oct. 16. Coe handed Central its only loss 37-28 Sept. 25.

The Knights lead the league in scoring defense, yielding only 10.4 points per game, and ranked No. 7 in Division III in that category last week. They're also first in pass defense efficiency (98.0) and rank eighth in Division III in turnover margin, with plus 14 in eight games. Wartburg is the league leader in interceptions (18) and fewest first downs allowed (15.2 per game).

Wartburg is outscoring opponents 32.5-10.4 and outgaining them 411.4 yards to 287.2. The Knights have the league's top rushing offense (207.4 yards per game) and are also tops in kickoff returns (23.3 yards per return).

Senior linebacker Blake Suckow ranks second in the league in tackles with 90 (11.2 per game). Junior defensive backs Josh Van Den Hul and Garrett McGrane share the conference interceptions lead with six. Junior Robby Salmon leads in punting yards with 43.1 per kick.

Quarterback Dan Stiefel, a junior transfer, has completed 111 of 192 passes for 1,610 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Sophomore running backs Reese Thompson and Brandon Sims rank second and third, respectively, in the league with 88.4 and 72.9 rushing yards.

"They're obviously very strong on both sides of the ball," McMartin said. "They have some very talented players. The quarterback is a good football player and they have a number of different running backs to attack you with. Their offensive line is a strength of the team every year and that certainly is the case this year. Their wide receivers are making a lot of plays.

"Defensively, they put a lot of pressure on you. They blitz a lot and move around. They're not just going to sit there and let you play football. They're going to force the issue. They're well coached."

Dutch numbers—There will be a couple of first-place statistical encounters Saturday.

Central will try to counter Wartburg's league-leading rushing offense (207.4 yards per game with the top rushing defense (74.3 yards). Wartburg has yielded only three quarterback sacks while the Dutch have a league-leading 32, ranking 10th in Division III in sacks last week. Central leads in third-down conversions (50.4 percent, 64-127), fourth-down conversions (64.7, 11-17), possession time (33:06) and punt return yardage (10.8 per return).

Mike Furlong (junior, Davenport, Assumption HS) is first in punt return yardage (10.5). Defensive lineman Shane Wong (senior, Pleasant Hill, Southeast Polk HS) is first in sacks (11) and tackles for loss (16). Jake Viggers (senior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) is first in extra points (42 of 42).

The series—Central held off Wartburg 41-33 at Waverly last year and leads the all-time series 41-17. The teams first met in 1945. Wartburg's last victory in the series was a 19-17 decision in Pella in 2008.

Weekly improvement—Coe rolled up 533 yards on the Dutch Sept. 25, but McMartin said are making steady improvement.

"We're doing some things better," he said. "We made a few changes here and there. We keep working every day to try to improve. We'll find out how much we've improved on Saturday."

Significant defensive progress came in the last two weeks. Central had only one interception in its first seven games but had three against Loras Oct. 23 and four more Saturday at Buena Vista. Meanwhile the Dutch have racked up 18 sacks in those two games. The sudden rise in interceptions is not a coincidence, McMartin said.

"We're putting good pressure on the quarterback, that's the big thing," he said. "The other thing is that guys have to make plays and we're making plays. When they've had the ball thrown their way, they've gotten after it and made the interception."

A victory wouldn't guarantee another NCAA playoff berth but, as always, this week's game is the only one on the minds of McMartin and his players.

"I'm not thinking about playoffs," he said. "The only thing I'm focusing on is this week's game because that's all that we can control. To think about anything else, to debate or to worry about it, would be a mistake. We'll leave that up to the fans. For us, we've got to get ready to go play a big game.                      

"The players have done a good job of focusing on the team we have to play next. Even after the Coe game, we learned from it, then started thinking about Cornell the next week."

Another point of emphasis is to have fun.

"We've really got to focus on playing our best game," McMartin said. "We want to cut loose and enjoy it for what it is. We want to be the best we can be."

Injury update—The team's top two rushers, running back Ross Doehrmann (sophomore, Williamsburg) and quarterback Nate Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) continue to nurse injuries. Snead played more than half the game Saturday at Buena Vista while Doehrmann remained sidelined.

The Dutch also lost running back Erik Grunder (sophomore, Wilton) in the closing minutes Saturday with a season-ending injury.

"Erik's a good football player and we obviously hate to lose good football players," McMartin said. "That's something we'll have to work at as a team to overcome."

Record watch—Snead has rushed for 583 yards on 119 carries while Doehrmann has 494 yards on 100 attempts. If Snead remains on top, he'll become the first Central quarterback to lead the team in rushing in the 50 years records are available.

Senior salute—Saturday's contest marks the final home appearance for 28 Dutch seniors.

During their Central careers, the seniors have helped the Dutch win two conference titles and gain two NCAA berths while posting a four-year record of 36-7.

"The seniors have been fantastic," McMartin said. "The thing I really respect about this year's seniors is they've all had challenges. They've been through good and bad times, ups and downs in their four years. They've been able to overcome that and stay positive and stay committed to the team.

"I think the legacy of this group of seniors is that they persevered. They are very committed to each other and very committed to Central College football. They've won a lot of games here and that's a byproduct of their work ethic and their commitment. I'm honored to be a part of their four-year experience."

 

comments powered by Disqus
Oct. 24: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Oct. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Hobart at RPI
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Massachusetts Maritime at Mass-Dartmouth
Preview Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at Nichols
Preview Live Stats
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Alfred
Video
12:00 PM
Salisbury at Ithaca
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Plymouth State
Preview Live Stats
12:00 PM
Morrisville State at Southern Virginia
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
12:30 PM
Bowdoin at Wesleyan
Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Middlebury at Trinity (Conn.)
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Alfred State
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Colby at Bates
Preview Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Tufts at Amherst
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Wesley at Virginia-Lynchburg
Audio
1:00 PM
Husson at Castleton State
Live Stats Video Tickets
1:00 PM
Williams at Hamilton
Live Stats Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Stevenson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
DePauw at Allegheny
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Moravian at Franklin and Marshall
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Olivet
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Albion at Trine
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Mount Ida at Gallaudet
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Cortland State at Kean
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Adrian
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Shenandoah
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Catholic at Emory and Henry
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Hope at Alma
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at St. Vincent
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Dickinson at McDaniel
Preview Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Guilford at Randolph-Macon
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Methodist at N.C. Wesleyan
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Ursinus
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Kenyon at Wittenberg
Preview Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Rowan at Montclair State
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Springfield at St. Lawrence
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Misericordia at Delaware Valley
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Wabash
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Hiram at Ohio Wesleyan
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wilkes at Lebanon Valley
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Juniata at Muhlenberg
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
King's at Albright
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
William Paterson at TCNJ
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Sewanee at Millsaps
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Endicott at Coast Guard
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Mount Union
Preview Live Stats Audio Tickets
1:30 PM
Capital at John Carroll
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Rose-Hulman at Franklin
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio
1:30 PM
Grove City at Thomas More
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Widener at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Marietta at Heidelberg
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Waynesburg at Thiel
Video
1:30 PM
Rochester at Union
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Anderson at Mount St. Joseph
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Manchester at Bluffton
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Otterbein at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Utica at Buffalo State
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Brockport State at Hartwick
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Becker at SUNY-Maritime
Live Stats Live Stats
2:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Bridgewater (Va.)
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Washington and Jefferson
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Westfield State
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Benedictine
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
LaGrange at Huntingdon
Video
2:00 PM
Aurora at Lakeland
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Berry at Birmingham-Southern
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Rockford at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire at UW-River Falls
Video Audio Tickets
2:00 PM
Carleton at St. John's
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Hamline at Concordia-Moorhead
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Augsburg at St. Olaf
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Lake Forest at Illinois College
Video
2:00 PM
Loras at Simpson
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Dubuque
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Beloit at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Carroll at Ripon
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Lawrence at Macalester
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Texas Lutheran
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Augustana at Carthage
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Illinois Wesleyan
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Millikin at North Park
Audio
2:00 PM
Central at Coe
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Luther at Wartburg
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Cornell at Monmouth
2:00 PM
Martin Luther at Minnesota-Morris
2:00 PM
Crown at MacMurray
2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Greenville
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Westminster (Mo.)
Video
2:00 PM
Grinnell at Knox
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-Whitewater
Live Stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at UW-Stevens Point
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Concordia (Mich.) at Maranatha Baptist
Video
2:10 PM
St. Thomas at Bethel
Live Stats Video Audio
2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
Live Stats Video
2:30 PM
Defiance at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Washington U. at Chicago
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
3:00 PM
Norwich at Anna Maria
Live Stats Video
3:00 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Stout
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
3:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
Live Stats Live Stats Audio Audio
4:00 PM
WPI at Merchant Marine
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
Linfield at Lewis and Clark
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Willamette at Pacific Lutheran
Live Stats Audio
4:00 PM
Redlands at La Verne
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Whitworth
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Pacific at George Fox
Live Stats Video Audio
5:00 PM
Western New England at MIT
Live Stats Video
5:00 PM
Worcester State at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
5:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
Audio
6:00 PM
Ferrum at Averett
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Muskingum at Ohio Northern
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Wooster at Denison
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Christopher Newport
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Bethany at Geneva
8:00 PM
Eureka at St. Scholastica
Live Stats Live Stats Video
8:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Wheaton (Ill.)
Live Stats Video Audio
10:00 PM
Chapman at Cal Lutheran
Live Stats Video Audio
10:00 PM
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Occidental
Live Stats Video Audio
10:00 PM
Whittier at Pomona-Pitzer
Live Stats Video
Oct. 25: All times Eastern
8:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Wheaton (Ill.)
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Washington and Jefferson
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Grove City at Thomas More
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Mount Union
Preview Live Stats Audio Tickets
1:30 PM
Capital at John Carroll
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Wesley at Virginia-Lynchburg
Audio
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Shenandoah
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Wabash
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Alfred State
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Kenyon at Wittenberg
Preview Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Misericordia at Delaware Valley
Live Stats Audio
3:00 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Stout
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:10 PM
St. Thomas at Bethel
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Hobart at RPI
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-Whitewater
Live Stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Luther at Wartburg
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Texas Lutheran
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Hamline at Concordia-Moorhead
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at UW-Stevens Point
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Carleton at St. John's
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Linfield at Lewis and Clark
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Willamette at Pacific Lutheran
Live Stats Audio
Oct. 24: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins

What We're Reading