New foes open Central football slate

Central Dutch Athletics

Central Dutch Athletics

PELLA—A pair of new non-conference opponents kick off the Central College football schedule this fall.

The Dutch make trips to the University of Northwestern-St. Paul (Minn.) and DePauw University (Ind.) before opening Iowa Conference play at home against Luther College September 15.

“They’re both really good teams coming off very successful seasons,” coach Jeff McMartin said. “They’re well-coached and we know we’ll be challenged. They’ll be great preparation as we build each week for the Iowa Conference season.”

The Northwestern-St. Paul game kicks off at 5 p.m. with the other nine games starting at 1 p.m. Central has four games at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium in Pella, including a September 29 homecoming contest with Buena Vista University.

Central is coming off a 7-3 campaign and a second-place Iowa Conference finish. The Dutch return 32 letterwinners, including four starters on offense and four on defense as well as first-team all-Iowa Conference kicker Jon Alberts (junior, Huntley, Ill.).

Jeff McMartin enters his 15th season as Central’s head coach with a 108-38 mark (.739). He’s familiar with both new foes, particularly DePauw, where he spent 2000-03 as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. The Tigers are coming off an 8-2 campaign that concluded with a 22-21 setback against Wabash College (Ind.) in one of Division III’s most storied rivalries, the Monon Bell game. DePauw is 31-9 over the past four seasons. Coach Bill Lynch is a former offensive coordinator at Indiana University.

“He does a great job,” McMartin said.

It will be Central’s third appearance in Indiana. The Dutch fell at Wabash 17-0 in 1980 but scored a dramatic 17-16 upset at Evansville University in the 1974 NCAA Division III semifinals en route to a national title.

Under Northwestern-St. Paul second-year coach Matt Moore, the Eagles were 6-4 last season but have a four-year mark of 31-11, including a 9-2 2016 record that included a first-ever NCAA Division III playoff berth and the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) title. The program was launched in 1973.

This fall’s contest will be Central’s first ever in football against a UMAC school.

“We want to play a challenging non-conference schedule,” McMartin said. “If you look us over the years, our non-conference games have been hard-fought, exciting games. This year’s games will be no different.”

McMartin is also happy that Central alumni in different areas will have an opportunity to see the Dutch in action nearby. The college has a large pocket of alumni in the Twin Cities while DePauw is a shorter trip for grads in Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis.

Central will have five trips of three hours or more. Within the league, the Dutch make two trips to Dubuque and journey to Lincoln, Nebraska.

Central has won a record 30 conference titles with 20 NCAA playoff berths. The Dutch haven’t recorded a losing season since 1960.

For home game ticket information, call the Central athletics office at 641-628-5226.

2018 Central College football schedule

Sept. 1 Northwestern-St. Paul St. Paul, Minn. 5 p.m.

(Minn.)

Sept. 8 DePauw (Ind.) Greencastle, 1 p.m.

Ind.

Sept. 15 Luther Pella 1 p.m.

Sept. 22 Dubuque Dubuque 1 p.m.

Sept. 29 Buena Vista Pella 1 p.m.

Homecoming

Oct. 6 Neb. Wesleyan Lincoln, Neb. 1 p.m.

Oct. 13 Simpson Pella 1 p.m.

Oct. 20 Wartburg Waverly 1 p.m.

Oct. 27 Coe Pella 1 p.m.

Nov. 10 Loras Dubuque 1 p.m.

Start times are local

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