MOUNT VERNON—Challenged after a day of disappointment, the Central College football team responded in a big way, using a 42-point second half to overwhelm Cornell College 52-0 Saturday.
It was an especially dramatic turnaround for the Dutch defense, which yielded the second-most yards in school history last week, surrendering 533 yards in a 37-28 loss at Coe College. But Saturday, Central (4-1 overall, 2-1 Iowa Conference) gave up yards grudgingly, limiting Cornell (0-5 overall, 0-3 conference) to just 132 yards and pitching the season's first shutout.
"Defensively we played well all day," coach Jeff McMartin said. "Our plan was to learn from last week, grow from it and get better. I felt like the defense built upon what we worked on all week.
"Cornell has some weapons and to hold them out of the end zone on their home field says a lot. I thought our coaches had a very good game plan and the players did a very good job of executing it."
It took a while for the offense to crank things up, making three trips inside the Cornell 25-yard line on Central's first four possessions but coming away with only a 28-yard Jake Viggers.
But quarterback Zack Bandow came off the bench to give the Dutch a jump start, directing a 12-play, 51-yard scoring drive. He tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Michael O'Rourke to give Central a 10-0 halftime lead.
"Zack did a nice job," McMartin said. "He made some really nice throws."
Bandow also made a tough pass reception just out of the end zone while playing wide receiver, where he spends most of his time this fall.
"That was really close," McMartin said. "It was a great catch. We also had two long runs where Zack was the lead blocker. We used him a lot of ways today and he came through on all of them."
S-back Jarred Lackey (senior, Somerton, Ariz., Cibola HS) also gave the Dutch a spark with a 41-yard touchdown reception of a Nate Snead (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) pass on Central's fourth play of the second half. He later scored a second TD on a 41-yard dash. McMartin noted that Lackey also had a 66-yard scoring run against Cornell last year.
"Jarred is one of our unsung heroes of the season," McMartin said. "We ask him to do a lot of blocking and catch the ball a little bit. He made a couple of great runs today."
Fellow S-back Preston West (junior, Swisher, Cedar Rapids Prairie HS) had a 30-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
"It's nice to know we have two S-backs who are also talented running backs," McMartin said. "I thought all five of our backs ran well today."
West was the Dutch rushing leader for the first time with 61 yards on five carries while backup running back Kyle Wood (junior, Newton) had 59 yards on eight carries, including a 34-yard TD run. The Dutch ground out 260 rushing yards.
Meanwhile Snead, Bandow and freshman Jack Flaherty (sophomore, Burlington) combined to complete 12 of 20 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Lackey, O'Rourke and Mike Furlong (junior, Davenport, Assumption HS) each had three catches. Steven Johnson (senior, Deep River, Montezuma HS) caught an 11-yard scoring pass.
Defensive back Ryan Schmidt (junior, Keswick, Tri-County HS) had six tackles for the Dutch defense. Linebackers Seth Carson (Woodridge, Ill., Downers Grove South HS) and Patrick Kelley (junior, Eagle Grove) each had five stops.
Central makes its first home appearance in three weeks next week, taking on Simpson College for homecoming next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium.