PELLA — Making use of six quarterbacks and 15 receivers, the Central College football team rolled up 669 yards of offense in roaring past Kalamazoo College (Mich.) Saturday, 69-13.
Ranked No. 16 by D3football.com, the Dutch (2-0) needed just 57 seconds to get on the board and the spigot didn’t run dry until Chase Williamson (freshman, Mount Pleasant) sprinted 53 yards down the sidelines with a pass from Gavin Hierseman (freshman, West Branch) on a broken play for a touchdown with 1:43 left, the team’s lone fourth-quarter score. Central bolted to a 21-6 first-quarter lead and pushed the advantage to 45-6 at intermission, when most of the regulars exited.
With temperatures in the 90s, Central’s depth allowed the Dutch to keep entering fresh legs and wear down the Hornets.
“It was nice to see,” coach Jeff McMartin said. “I think our guys were focused and able to execute, not just our starters but all of our players. Definitely having the depth that we had was a benefit today with the weather.”
Quarterback Blaine Hawkins (senior, Ankeny) was again the picture of precision in about a half of action, completing 15 of 16 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman Brady Ketchum (Mount Vernon) connected on 4-of-5 for 37 yards and two touchdowns as the Dutch showcased a variety of young signal-callers.
“It’s just going to take time to develop them,” McMartin said. “Each of them have a different set of skills. They all have to continue working on their decision-making and, in our offense, that’s a big part of playing quarterback. But they’re improving.”
Meanwhile, receiver Jeff Herbers (junior, Urbandale, Des Moines Christian HS), inserted into the starting lineup in place of injured Logan Mont (sophomore, Aurora, Ill., West Aurora HS) stepped up in a big way with eight catches for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
“Jeff is a very good wide receiver,” McMartin said. “That’s a position where I think we have good depth. Ryan Neu (sophomore, West Des Moines, Valley HS) also showed up. I think that’s an area where we can continue to improve. I give coach (Ryan) Maiuri and the offensive staff a lot of credit. They put those guys in position to have success.”
Back-up running back Noah Treimer (sophomore, Pella, Pella Christian HS) returned from injury to lead the parade of rushers with 72 yards and a score on nine carries. Jordan Rusch (sophomore, Johnston) gained 53 yards on 10 carries and starter Jason Hopp (senior, Earlham) had 51 yards on just four carries before taking an early exit.
Central threw for 365 yards overall on 23-of-28 passing while rushing for 304 yards. Kalamazoo (1-1) was limited to 195 yards total offense, 138 through the air and 57 rushing.
Linebackers Tate Hagen (sophomore, Britt, West Hancock HS) and Reid Pakkebier (freshman, Cedar Rapids, Kennedy HS) each had five tackles while defensive lineman Blade Durbala (senior, Blairstown, Benton HS) blocked a kick and freshman linebacker Kael Brandow (Norwalk) made an interception.
“I thought our defense played really well,” McMartin said. “We didn’t give up many big plays and got a lot of stops. We wanted to see our defense take another good step and keep getting better each week.”
Central opens American Rivers play at home next Saturday against Nebraska Wesleyan University. The Prairie Wolves were one of two opponents last spring when Central prevailed 37-19 at Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Wesleyan is 2-0 after edging Augsburg University (Minn.) 20-19 on the road Saturday.