Central looks to complete undefeated home slate
Central College will seek to clinch its 50th winning football season since 1960 when the Dutch close out their home schedule with an Iowa Conference game against Cornell College Saturday.
Game time is 1 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium.
Central is 5-2 overall and 4-1 in league play following a 70-7 thrashing of Loras College at Dubuque Saturday. Cornell suffered a 40-17 homecoming setback against the University of Dubuque Saturday and is 2-4 overall with a 0-4 league record.
Dick Bowzer Day—Central will salute long-time assistant coach and faculty member Dick Bowzer at halftime Saturday. Bowzer and his wife Barb retired from Central last year. He was among the most loyal coaches in college football, serving as a Dutch assistant for 42 seasons. Bowzer played for hall of fame coach Ron Schipper at Jackson (Michigan) High School and followed Schipper to Central, where he earned 11 varsity letters before joining the exercise science department staff. He was named the NCAA Division III assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association in 2008.
Senior salute—Saturday's game will be the final Schipper Stadium appearance in a Dutch uniform for 29 Central seniors. They'll be bidding to go unbeaten at home in 2011.
"It's gone fast," said coach Jeff McMartin. "This is a great group. We want to see our seniors go out and win all their games at home for the season. That would be a great accomplishment.
"We've got several guys who have played a lot and some guys who haven't. And some of the guys who haven't played much before are having great senior years. All of them have worked very hard and are good leaders. They've all contributed in their own way."
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.
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 leads the series with Cornell 19-1. The teams first met in 1943, with Cornell's lone win coming in 1978. The Dutch have won the last 18 meetings.
The Rams--Cornell racked up a season-high 389 yards total offense against Dubuque Saturday and held a 21-20 advantage over the Spartans in first downs. Quarterback Juan Flores, a 5-foot-9 sophomore, completed 20 of 28 passes for 256 yards while freshman receiver Brit Connor had seven receptions for 96 yards.
"Cornell is a very much improved football team," McMartin said. "They play really hard and are very well coached."
For the season, Flores has completed 110 of 162 passes, a lofty 67.9 percent, for 1,210 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions. Flores is also the team's top rusher with 420 yards on 85 carries and five scores.
"He's a very good football player," McMartin said. "He makes things happen for them. We've got to contain him. They've also got some receivers with good speed. They run a good package."
Senior linebacker Tyler Bailey has 70 tackles, including 10.5 for loss with 2.5 sacks. He's second in the league with 12.2 tackles per game.
"He does a really good job," McMartin said. "They have a senior defensive end (Aaron Spickermann) who is a very good player as well.
"Defensively, they know what they're about. They use a base 4-4 defense and they run it very well. They're comfortable with it and they know how to attack you. We'll have to be really smart and execute."
Record-breakers—McMartin liked nearly everything he saw in the lopsided win over Loras. The Dutch were sharp in all phases of the game, he said, outgaining Loras 626 yards to 130. The 63-point victory margin matched the ninth-largest in school history.
"It was certainly a more complete game than we've had this year," McMartin said. "It was nice for the guys to have a big win. But it's important to keep getting better. We made some improvements this week and there are things we need to get better at each week."
Central had 347 yards passing and 279 on the ground, while also enjoying a big day on special teams. Defensive back Joey Toale (senior, Spencer) has seen limited playing time but came up big with a blocked punt that he then returned for a third-quarter touchdown.
"We didn't even have a block on, that was just a great individual effort," McMartin said. "He's a guy who has been a great leader and very loyal to the program. Everyone on the team was really happy for Joey."
Coming on the heels of two 3-point victories and a loss in the preceding three weeks, it was a rare opportunity for Central to give extensive playing time to back-ups.
"Every week in the Iowa Conference, you play good teams," McMartin said. "So if you happen to get a game when you're up, it's nice to be able to get some other guys in the game."
Running backs Josh Osborn (freshman, Burlington) and De'Andre Currie (sophomore, Gilbert, Ariz., Mountain Pointe HS) came off the bench to combine for 135 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 25 carries. McMartin also cited S-back Austin Shaver (freshman, Burlington) for helping pave the way.
Rookie kicker Kevin Sheldon (West Des Moines, Valley HS) was perfect on 10 extra-point tries, one short of the school record shared by Tom Stone (1964) and Ed Maroon (1991).
"Kevin continues to kick well," McMartin said. "He had to kick off into the wind a lot Saturday, but he was booming them."
Sheldon is 35 of 35 on extra points this year. The mark for most extra points in a season without a miss was set last year when Jake Viggers was perfect on 44 tries.
Quarterback Nate Snead (senior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) eclipsed Scott Koerselman's passing yardage record by a yard, throwing for 347 with four touchdowns, completing 18 of 22 passes.
"Nate threw the ball well and made some big plays," McMartin said. "He made a lot of good decisions."
McMartin also cited the seven players who caught passes, including Jeremy Snead (senior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS), who had five receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns and Ben Lechtenberg (junior, Manchester, West Delaware HS), who made four catches for 87 yards. Mike Furlong (senior, Davenport, Assumption HS) and Preston West (senior, Swisher, Cedar Rapids Prairie HS) each had TD catches as well.
"They all made some tough catches," he said. "And Nate got good protection from the offensive line. He had time to throw."
Overlooked in the flurry of offensive numbers was one of the season's best defensive performances.
"The defense flew around and played with a high level of intensity," McMartin said.
But the Dutch need to improve, he said.
"We talked to the players about playing to a standard and that's a Central standard," he said. "That means we're going to be physical, we're going to play with passion and we're going to play with intensity. We also need to play smart. We need to improve in those areas and that's on every play. We're not going to take any plays off."
Dutch numbers—Central is first in the Iowa Conference in rushing offense (211.5 yards per game), rush defense (113.6), sacks (19) and opponent's third-down conversion percentage (34.4, 33-96). Snead is second in pass efficiency rating (135.4), second in total offense (290.7), third in rushing (102.3) and tied for third in scoring (9.0 points). Preston Roberts (senior, Bloomfield, Davis County HS) is second punting (38.7 yards) while Furlong is third in kick return yardage (21.4) and linebacker Keith Rush (junior, Griswold) is tied for third in tackles for loss (8.5).
Snead has moved into a tie for third on the all-time school charts in season rushing touchdowns (15) and a tie for ninth in passing touchdowns (17). He's 10th in school career history in rushing yards (2,189), second in touchdowns (42), second in total offense (6,459 yards) fourth in pass completions (299), fourth in passing yards (4,270), fourth in scoring (254) and second in touchdown passes (44). He already holds the record for touchdowns responsible for (passing and rushing) by a wide margin with 86.
Jeremy Snead is third in career pass receptions (118), fourth in TD receptions (23) and seventh in pass reception yards (1,617).
Furlong is 10th in punt return yards (401), third in kick return yards (1,067) and seventh in average kick return yards (23.71). Defensive back Ryan Schmidt (senior, Keswick, Tri-County HS) is tied for seventh in pass breakups (16).
Notes—Saturday's game at Loras marked the first time in the past two seasons that the Dutch scored on their first possession in each half. It was only the second time this year that Central has scored on its opening possession of the game…Central has scored on its last 15 trips inside the Red Zone (opponent's 20-yard line)…The game marked the seventh time in school history that Central scored 70 or more points…The Dutch are 4-0 at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium this year and 152-33 there since the field opened in 1977.