Hoping it has sparked a season resurgence, the Central College football team takes on Buena Vista University Saturday.
Game time is 1 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium in Pella. Central is 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Iowa Conference after outscoring Coe College Saturday, 38-35. Buena Vista was idle Saturday and is 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.
On the air/cybersphere— 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.
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 via podcast.
The series—Central defeated the Beavers 35-7 at Storm Lake last year and leads the teams' all-time series, 52-11. Buena Vista last prevailed in 2003.
The Beavers—Central coach Jeff McMartin said it will be difficult to move the ball against Buena Vista.
"They've got a very good defense," he said. "They have eight defensive starters back and they're very physical. They stop the run very well and they're good in coverage. Up front, they're hard to move."
McMartin is especially impressed with senior strong safety Alan Bladt, a first-team all-conference performer last year. He's made 31 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and four pass breakups. He shares the team tackle lead with sophomore outside linebacker Brady Randall. Senior defensive tackle Aaron Giese was a second-team all-league pick
Freshman Bobby Brown won the starting quarterback job following the season's second game. In Buena Vista's most recent outing, a 44-10 romp past Cornell Sept. 24, Brown completed 15 of 26 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Junior running back John Hill gained 109 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown.
For the season Brown has completed 55 of 115 passes for 627 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Hill's gained 294 yards on 64 carries with two scores.
"(Brown) is a good athlete," McMartin said. "He's a good passer playing behind a good offensive line and they run the ball very well.
"They're a much better team than you would think by just glancing at their record," McMartin said. "It's going to take our best effort and we're going to have to continue to improve."
Progress—Continuing to improve is the challenge McMartin is giving to his squad this week. Knocking Coe out of a share of the early lead in the league was only a step.
"We need to continue to work on all phases of the game," he said. "We're looking for consistency. We need to make sure we're communicating well. We need to continue to reduce mental mistakes and keep executing better."
But after a discouraging outing at Dubuque Sept. 24, the win over Coe gave the Dutch a much-needed emotional lift.
"We played with passion and kept our focus," McMartin said. "We tried really hard to focus on one play at a time. Not every play went our way but we did a good job of putting it behind us.
"It was a really tough game against a very good football team. We were coming off a tough loss. How we responded would set the tone for the games ahead. I'm glad we responded the way we did and proud of the way the guys battled."
Snead shines--Central rolled up 480 yards of offense Saturday. Quarterback Nate Snead (senior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) completed 18 of 32 yards for 291 yards with one interception and four touchdowns. He also was Central's top rusher with 86 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. He's the league rushing leader with 498 yards on 112 carries (99.6 yards per game) and seven touchdowns. Snead has completed 67 of 125 passes for 1,023 yards with six interceptions and 11 TDs.
"Nate played a really good game," McMartin said. "That was one of the best games of his career. He made a lot of good decisions and his completion percentage would have been even higher but we had four drops.
"He's had a couple of really good weeks of practice and we need to build on that."
Record watch--Snead has broken the school career rushing yards record for a quarterback and is nearing the career overall top 10. He's gained 2,046 yards on 416 carries and needs 114 yards to pass Dennis Descoteau (1963-66) for 10th place on the all-time list.
Snead is also fourth in career pass completions (271-485-16) and in passing yards (3,816). He's second in total offense (5,862 yards), second in touchdowns (38) and fourth in scoring (230).
Jeremy Snead (senior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) moved into fifth on Central's career pass receptions chart Saturday with 108, five behind Chris McCullough (1999-2001). He's eighth in career receiving yards (1,478).
Mike Furlong (senior, Davenport, Assumption HS) is third in kick return yards (1,067) and 10th in punt return yards (389).
Notes—Buena Vista starting cornerback Danny Pattee was a member of the Central men's golf team as a freshman before transferring…After Saturday, the Dutch have just one home game the rest of the season…Central's 2003 loss to Buena Vista was considered a home game, but the contest was played at Southeast Polk High School near Runnells. The turf on what was then known as A.N. Kuyper Stadium had been ruined in a rainy season opener, forcing the move. The Dutch had FieldTurf installed for the following season. Central's last defeat against Buena Vista in Pella was in 1979.