An experienced Central College football team hopes winning on third down will help the Dutch move back into contention in the Iowa Conference race. Coach Jeff McMartin has 13 starters back from last year’s team that finished 6-4, including seven from a defense that finished sixth in the league against the pass and struggled getting off the field on third down.
“Third down conversions are a big deal and what you do in the red zone is a big deal”, said McMartin. “You are not going to slow down teams forever but you need to get stops and get off the field.”
Opponents converted on better than 42 percent of their third down opportunities against the Dutch last season.
Central has six starters back for an offense that averaged better than 32 points per game in 2015 and McMartin will need to make a choice at quarterback where there are two experienced candidates. Senior Riley Gray started most of last season and sophomore Nate Boland started the final three games after Gray was injured.
“Both guys bring some different things to the table. They both want to play and both have played so it is a good problem to have.”
Central opens on September 3 with a trip to Spokane, Washington to play a Whitworth College team that made it to the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2015 and is ranked 19th in the preseason D3football.com poll.