Dunkerton defeats Central 52-6

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Evan Schroeder dives forward for extra yards. He led Central with 50 yards rushing in the loss to Dunkerton. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Nate Shirbroun returns a kickoff in Central’s Oct. 2 game against Dunkerton.

Evan Pensel tackles the Dunkerton runner.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

The Central football team headed into the Oct. 2 game against the Dunkerton Raiders riding a high from their homecoming victory and coach Joe Koehn’s unwavering loyalty to running the football. The Raider defense was undaunted, stymieing the Warriors’ rush offense, holding it to 70 total yards for a 1.9-yards-per-carry average. The end result was a 52-6 loss, bringing the Warriors’ record to 1-4 on the season. 

Prior to the game, Koehn was asked about the match-up and the well-balanced nature of the Raiders’ offense and how to attack it. He said the team had to “stick to our assignments and make sure that we can keep their athletes in check. We worked on tackling hard and low this week to make sure that we finish our tackles and are not giving up extra yards after the first initial hit.” 

Coming off their first win of the season, maintaining focus and limiting distractions was also key for the Warriors. 

“Friday was a lot of fun. We had a great win, which is exactly what this program needs, but now we need to see how we can progress from there. If we sit here and think about how cool of a win we had on Friday, we can’t continue to have success. It is time to move forward and not dwell on the past,” Koehn said. 

Once the game began, Dunkerton took total control, scoring 22 points in the first quarter. 

The Warriors, who have been working on tackling and defensive assignments all season, gave up 393 total yards. The defense recorded 22 total tackles and three tackles for a loss, but was unable to produce a sack or any turnovers. 

Noah Dierson led the team with 3.5 tackles, while three other players, Sean Wilwert, Evan Pensel and CJ Polkinghorn, had three each. Polkinghorn also had one of the defense’s three tackles for a loss, as did Spencer Heer and James Eberhardt.

After the loss, when asked about how to improve the defense, Koehn said, “We will be working on our defensive assignments more this week.” 

As for the offense, the Warriors were scoreless through three quarters before Evan Schroeder threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Hazen Loan in the fourth quarter. Loan would finish the game with five receptions for 108 yards and the team’s only touchdown. At quarterback, Elliot Kelly split time with Schroeder and went a combined five for 10, for 108 yards. 

When asked before the game how to improve and involve the passing offense more, Koehn was unconcerned about the team’s struggles. 

“I am not too worried. I am more worried about setting a precedence running the ball. The best teams can always run the ball. And my game plan is to run the ball, and, if needed, we can put some air underneath the ball,” he said. 

The rush offense on Friday night ran the ball 37 times for 70 yards. On the season, Central is averaging 3.3 yards a carry, which when compared to other teams the Warriors have faced, is comparatively low. In the district, only the Central City Wildcats have a lower yards-per-carry average, with 1.7.

Part of the problem, according to Koehn, is offensive linemen aren’t getting to the “second level” and defenses are “eating up all the blocks.” 

During Friday night’s game, Schroeder led the team with 50 yards rushing, while Wilwert added 18 yards on 13 carries. 

Even though the offense pulled off a late touchdown, the Warriors been out-scored by 225 points and are averaging 20.4 points per game, which is seventh in the district. 

The Warriors will finish the regular season this Friday, Oct. 9, at the 3-3 Northwood-Kensett Vikings, in the first match-up between the schools since 2014.

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