October 15, 2013

Central eyes turnaround

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It's not often that a 0-5 squad is referred to as dangerous, but that's how Central College coach Jeff McMartin describes Saturday's Iowa Conference foe, and with good reason.

Buena Vista University (0-5 overall, 0-2 conference) will be at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium for a 1 p.m. contest. Central is 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the league after a 14-10 defeat at Simpson College last Saturday.

The Beavers have faced a punishing schedule. They opened with four straight games against nationally ranked teams, then had to take on perennial power Wartburg on the road Saturday, pushing the Knights to the limit before dropping a 37-29 decision. Against No. 16 Coe Oct. 5, Buena Vista was driving for the go-ahead score in a 7-7 game late in the fourth quarter when an interception turned the tide and the Kohawks escaped with a 21-7 victory.

Meanwhile the Beavers' three non-conference foes were No. 6 Wis.-Platteville, No. 8 Bethel (Minn.) and No. 25 Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.).

"Buena Vista is a very talented football team," McMartin said. "Nobody has had a tougher pre-conference schedule than they have."

On the air, on the Web—Rising broadcasting stars Cory Houser and Justin Webster will fill in for  Trevor Castle in calling the action for the Dutch on KRLS-FM (92.1) Saturday.  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 Castle and 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 on demand.

The series—Buena Vista took advantage of five turnovers and hung on for a 30-25 victory over Central last year at Storm Lake. That snapped an eight-year Dutch win streak in the series, which Central leads, 53-12.

The Beavers—McMartin notes that Buena Vista was 0-5 entering the game against Central last year as well.

"It's almost the same scenario," he said. "They were good last year but they had a tough start. Once they beat us, they started playing with a lot of confidence and played great the rest of the way."

The win was the first of four in a row for Buena Vista, which dropped its season finale in overtime and finished 4-6 overall.

Junior quarterback Bobby Brown ranks third in the league in passing yardage, completing 80 of 173 passes (46.2 percent) for 214 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Junior tight end Adam Cave is tied for second in receptions with 30 for 362 yards and four scores.

"They've got a great quarterback," McMartin said. "He's very accurate and makes plays. He can sling it. They've got two tight ends who are big, physical playmakers that are hard to handle and they've got some fast wide rececivers."

Senior linebacker Brady Randall is tied for fourth in the conference in tackles with 45, including 19 solos.

"Defensively they've got a lot of tough, physical kids. They play really good pass defense and they always stop the run really well."

Rocky conference start—Before the season, McMartin warned that the start of the conference slate was a huge hurdle. That's how it played out. After winning two of three non-conference games, the Dutch have stumbled in two league road games. Central averaged 29.6 points in the three non-league games but has generated just 15.5 in the last two.

McMartin said the Dutch are capable of better than they showed at Simpson Saturday.

"We played very well at times, but we didn't execute well much of the game," he said. "The defense played well for the most part but there are still areas where we can get better there as well. We've got to shore things up. We've got a big week ahead of us."

The Dutch won't spend time looking in the rear-view mirror.

"We don't have time to hang our heads," McMartin said. "And we're not going to dwell on last year's game (with Buena Vista), but it will serve as a great lesson. We want to bounce back and prove to ourselves that we're a good football team. We want to get back to where we were at the end of our non-conference schedule."

Dutch numbers—Running back Josh Osborn (junior, Burlington) is second in the conference in rushing with 88.2 yards per game. He's third in all-purpose yardage with 127.0 per game. Kevin Sheldon (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) is tied for second in kick scoring with 30 points and is 15 of 15 on extra points. He's 87-of-88 for his career. Sheldon is tied for first in field goals with five. Linebacker Mitch Schroeder (junior, Lowden, North Cedar HS) is tied for first in the league in tackles with 10.0 per game. Linebacker Mike Young (senior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS) is eighth with 8.0. Defensive end Danny Samson (senior, Baxter, CMB HS) tops the league in tackles for loss with 10.0 (eight solo, four assists) while Young and linebacker Keith Rush (senior, Griswold) share third place with 7.5. Samson and Rush are tied for second in sacks with four. Cornerback Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) is first in passes defended (2.0) with nine breakups and an interception.

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