The intensity will be dialed up a bit more Saturday as the Central College football team travels to Simpson College, with both teams in search of their first 2013 Iowa Conference victory.
The Dutch (2-2 overall, 0-1 conference) were held off at Dubuque, 23-21 last Saturday, while Simpson (2-2 overall, 0-1 conference) was outscored at Wartburg, 34-24.
"Anytime you have a setback, you'd better play with some urgency," coach Jeff McMartin said. "It's a game both teams want to win. Both teams will go out with a lot of passion and fire."
Game time Saturday is 1 p.m. at Buxton Stadium in Indianola.
On the air, on the Web—Veteran sportscaster Trevor Castle will call the play-by-play for the Dutch on KRLS-FM (92.1). The broadcast can also be accessed through Central's website atwww.central.edu/athletics or throughwww.kniakrls.com.
Meet Coach McMartin— 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 also be accessed online.
108-year-old series—Simpson prevailed at Pella last year, 21-18, ending a three-year Dutch win streak, but Central leads the teams' all-time series 59-28-3. It's the oldest rivalry on the Central schedule, with the teams' first recorded meeting in 1905. Central's first game ever was played against William Penn in 1892.
Simpson--Simpson is the league total offense leader (432.5 yards per game), is second in scoring (33.8 points), first in pass efficiency (153.7), second in pass offense (269.2 yards) and third in rushing offense (163.2). Wide receiver Brad Vogel shares the league lead in receptions (6.8) while quarterback Brad Vogel is first in total offense (299.5 yards), first in all-purpose yardage (152.8 yards) and second in passing yardage (257.5 yards). He's completed 90 of 131 passes for 1,030 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions.
"It's a really high-scoring offense led by a four-year starting quarterback," McMartin said. "He's a great passer, runner and playmaker. They've got a lot of speed at wide receiver with (Vogel), they've got a good tight end and running backs and they've got a really nice offensive line that blocks well. They do a great job of scheming the X's and O's.
"Defensively they've got really good linebackers who run well. They've got big, physical defensive linemen and a really good defensive end. The defensive backs are solid, hit hard and are very physical, and they've got really good special teams. It's a very good football team."
Getting better—Mistakes and missed opportunities haunted the Dutch at Dubuque. Yet McMartin sees plenty of reason for optimism.
"There were a lot of things we can learn from and do better," he said. "We learned a lot about our football team. I still see this team improving every week. We have the ability to get better and I still have great hope and belief that we will."
Job one is improving offensive execution. Central was limited to 288 yards total offense, including just 56 yards rushing on 24 attempts after grinding out 279 rushing yards on 54 carries in a 31-6 rout of Albion (Mich.) Sept. 28.
While there were a couple of costly errors on defense, there was much to like there as Dubuque was held to 291 yards and one offensive touchdown.
"Our defense played very well," McMartin said. "We kept them under control and didn't make a ton of mistakes."
Leaders--Cornerback Jason Breon (senior, Anamosa) topped the tackles charts with 12. He's one of three seniors—including defensive lineman Spencer Matlock (senior, Naperville, Ill., Waubonsie Valley HS) and linebacker Keith Rush (senior, Griswold)--who have returned after missing all or most of the 2012 campaign.
"Having those three back has really helped our defense," McMartin said.
All three serve as team co-captains, along with defensive lineman Danny Samson (senior, Baxter, CMB HS) and center Travis Hook (senior, Grundy Center).
Dutch numbers—Central is tied for third in the conference in scoring offense (27.5 points) and is second in scoring defense (16.5). Kevin Sheldon (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) is tied for first in kick scoring (6.5 points) and leads in field goal percentage (4-8, 50.0) and extra point percentage (14-14, 100.0). Taylor Cox (sophomore, Pella) leads in punt return average (9.4 yards).
Linebacker Mitch Schroeder (junior, Lowden, North Cedar HS) is tied for third in tackles (9.7). He's expected to return to the lineup Saturday after missing the game at Dubuque with injury. Samson is first in tackles for loss (1.88), cornerback Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) leads in passes defended (2.25) and Rush shares second in sacks (0.75).
Central is averaging 360.0 yards total offense while allowing 327.0 and is outscoring opponents, 27.5-16.5.
Notes—Central has yet to allow a first-quarter touchdown, giving up just three points in the first period thus far, and outscoring opponents 48-16 in the second quarter, but getting outscored 27-21 in the third…With limited carries at Dubuque, where Central went more to the air, running back Josh Osborn (junior, Burlington) saw his average drop to 88.2 yards per game. Quarterback Aaron Eiseler (junior, Newberg, Ore., Red Mountain, Ariz. HS) has connected on 75 of 123 passes (61.0 percent) for 737 yards with five interceptions and 10 touchdowns. Wide receiver Brendon Boerm (sophomore, Traer, North Tama HS) is the team receptions leader with 23 for 215 yards. The two TD passes he caught at Dubuque were his first of the season. Boerm and Blaine Forsythe (junior, Pella) are both starters now at wide receiver after previously being listed as sharing one spot…This is the third straight year that Central has started the season 2-2…Central is 11th in Division III in third-down conversion defense at 22 percent (14-63)…Larson is seventh in Division III in passes defended with an interception and eight breakups…Central plays its first home junior varsity game of the season next Monday against Simpson at 6 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium…Wis.-Oshkosh, which escaped Central in the Sept. 7 season opener, 24-20, is rated No. 9 in the AFCA Division III coaches' poll. Conference favorite Coe College is No. 16 and Wartburg College is among the schools receiving votes.