For one of the few, if not only, times in Iowa Conference football history, two top-10 ranked squads will clash in a league game when No. 7 Central College travels to Cedar Rapids to face No. 9 Coe College.
Game time is 1 p.m. at Clark Field.
Both clubs are 3-0 overall after passing their first conference tests last Saturday. Central raced past Dubuque 34-8 in a lightning-shortened game while Coe thrashed Luther on the road, 42-19.
Rankings—The top-10 rankings are according to D3football.com's top 25. Saturday's game is the first Iowa Conference top-10 matchup since D3football.com issued its first poll in 2003. The contest doesn't quite attain top-10 status according to the opening American Football Coaches Association poll of the season that was released Monday. Central is No. 7 in that as well but Coe opens at No. 11.
Central is in the D3football.com rankings for the 30th time since the first 2003 poll, the most of any league school Wartburg appeared in the rankings 14 times and this week Coe is listed for the third time. It's the 13th consecutive week that Central is in the top 25.
On the air, on the Web—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.
The series--Coe defeated Central three straight times (2003-05) but the Dutch took the last four and hold a 12-6-2 lead in the all-time series.
The Kohawks--Central stymied the Kohawks at Pella last fall, 24-6, but then Coe caught fire, winning its next eight games, including a road upset of St. John's (Minn.) in the NCAA Division III playoffs. Fourteen starters are back from that squad.
Junior quarterback Brad Boyle was the league MVP last season and engineers a high-octane offense that leads the conference in scoring (45.0 points), total offense (503.0 yard), passing offense (341.7 yards) passing efficiency (158.6) and first downs (27.0).
Boyle tops the conference in passing, averaging 312.3 yards per game. He's completed 56 of 87 passes (64.4 percent) with two interceptions and six touchdowns. Saturday at Luther he passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more. Senior Tyler Takes has 16 pass receptions for 228 yards and three TDs. Junior Nick Ratchford has seven receptions and reached the 100-catch mark for his career Saturday.
Sophomore Brendan Leiran has run for 319 yards on 60 carries with five touchdowns, ranking second in the league in rushing yardage.
Junior linebacker Jacob Lower has a team-high 26 tackles while Kohawk punter Chase Cooling is averaging a league-best 51.7 yards a kick.
"They're well-coached and run a good scheme," coach Jeff McMartin said. "Their players play extremely hard. They're battlers who keep coming at you.
"Defensively, they're very sound and very physical. They have a lot of talent at every position.
"Their offense is really run well. They have an exceptional quarterback who threw just one interception all year last year. Their offensive concept fits him to a T.
"They win at home, they win on the road and they're playoff-tested. They're legit in every way."
Progress—McMartin holds the Dubuque offense in high regard and consequently was impressed with his team limiting the Spartans to two field goals and a safety Saturday at Pella. Central outgained Dubuque 329-238 yards, giving up just 43 rushing yards. The Dutch lead the conference in rushing defense (33.3 yards).
"We took a good step," McMartin said. "I thought the guys came out very focused. But we need an even better effort this week in practice and a better effort Saturday."
The Dutch still made some costly errors, with six penalties and a misfired snap on a punt attempt that resulted in a safety.
"Football is a game of mistakes and the team that makes the fewest typically wins," McMartin said. "We've got to be a team ready to play for 60 minutes."
Dutch numbers—Quarterback Nate Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) ranks second in the conference behind Boyle in total offense (292.0 yards) and is third in rushing (85.0 yards). Running back Ross Doehrmann (sophomore, Williamsburg) is tied for fourth (74.0 yards) after gaining a career-high 131 yards on 21 carries with one score Saturday.
Snead has completed 44 of 66 passes for 621 yards with four interceptions and four touchdowns. Jeremy Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) tops Central's receivers with 15 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
Lightning round—Saturday's game is believed to be Central's first ever shortened by lightning, ending with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter. The Dutch have had at least two other games delayed by lightning, most recently in a 21-0 win at Loras, Sept. 24, 2005. That contest was halted for two hours, four minutes.
Notes—Kurtis Brondyke (senior, Clinton) has only punted five times, still not enough to qualify for the league rankings. He's averaging 42.8 yards per boot with two inside the 20-yard line. He pinned Dubuque on its 3-yard line on the first Spartans possession of the second half… Linebacker Greg Best (senior, Clive, West Des Moines Valley HS) had a team-high eight tackles Saturday and leads with 21 for the season. Strong safety Jake Petersen (junior, Gladbrook, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) has 17…The Dutch still don't have an interception in 2010…Dubuque was the first Central opponent to be kept out of the end zone through three games. The Dutch have yielded only two rushing touchdowns while going up against what McMartin regards as three effective offensive clubs …Saturday was Central's first turnover-free 2010 contest…A 50-yard fumble return by linebacker Patrick Kelley (junior, Eagle Grove) was among Central's longest in several years but well shy of Matt Newland's school-record 87-yard return against Buena Vista in 1994.
Number of weeks in D3football.com rankings
by Iowa Conference teams*
*rankings first issued in 2003
Central-Coe football series record
Year Winner Score
1925 Coe 28-0
1937 Coe 20-6
1947 Central 15-0
1948 tie 0-0
1949 tie 21-21
1950 Coe 33-19
1951 Central 13-8
1985 Central 27-7
1998 Central 39-14
1999 Central 28-21
2000 Central 31-7
2001 Central 24-17
2002 Central 21-20
2003 Coe 28-14
2004 Coe 16-13
2005 Coe 17-14
2006 Central 31-28 (OT)
2007 Central 24-17
2008 Central 27-10
2009 Central 24-6
Central leads series, 12-6-2