/seasons/2019/contrib/201911096wl6e2

Bold OT call gives Central 57-56 upset win over Wartburg

More news about: Central

It was epic.
           
The 42-point Central College football first-half explosion. The furious 35-point Wartburg College second-half comeback that left the Dutch dazed. The record point totals. And, most of all, the Hunter Robinson (senior, Lisbon) stretch for a dramatic game-winning 2-point conversion in Central's 57-56 overtime upset of the nationally ranked Knights that will remain firmly etched in the memory banks of fans for years.

It was the most points by two teams ever in a Central game. More significantly, it's Central's first win over previously unbeaten Wartburg since 2016 and leaves the teams tied atop the American Rivers standings at 6-1 (both 8-1 overall) heading into the final week of the regular season. Central closes at Coe College in Cedar Rapids next Saturday with Wartburg playing host to Loras College. The league title and an NCAA Division III playoff berth ride on the outcome.
           
The Dutch had seemingly put the game in blowout mode with a 49-14 lead with 9:12 left in the third quarter when the momentum winds suddenly shifted. With every Central mistake, points and even first downs became more elusive. The Dutch seemingly limped into overtime tied 49-49 and when Wartburg needed just two plays on its overtime possession to make it 56-49, fans sense the upset dreams fading away.
           
Coach Jeff McMartin and his squad remained confident.
           
"We knew that if we just straightened ourselves out, don't get penalties and execute what we're capable of doing, we'd run enough plays that we felt like we'd worn them down enough we'd be able to score," McMartin said. "We got the ball last and knew what we were going to do."
           
They did. The Dutch pounded away with five straight running plays and Robinson raced in from the 2-yard line on a jet sweep to make it 56-55.
           
McMartin and his staff had discussed late-game scenarios earlier in the week and with a kicker as dependable as the sunrise in preseason all-American Jon Alberts (senior, Huntley, Ill.), thought booting the extra point was the most prudent option. Until it wasn't.
           
"Even when overtime started I was still planning on kicking it but then how things shook out when they had the ball, I felt like our best shot was to do it right then and there and win the game," McMartin said. "That decision was made when we got the ball."
           
Play to win has long been a McMartin mantra and that's what Central did, signaling in a recently installed 2-point play.
           
It was almost scratched. Central hoped to pull a surprise at the line of scrimmage, suddenly sending offensive linemen split out wide on both sides of the field. But the resulting look the Dutch expected from the Wartburg defense didn't materialize and McMartin frantically tried to call time-out. He was too late.
           
Quarterback Blaine Hawkins (junior, Ankeny) took the shotgun snap and fired a low pass to the sideline where Robinson was positioned behind two of the shifted linemen. He made the catch and muscled his way toward the goal line. His body never reached the end zone but he stretched the ball across as he fell, triggering a wild celebration at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium.
           
Almost lost in the haze of the flurry of points and turning points in the game was yet another Hawkins school record as he eclipsed the career passing yardage mark of 6,181 set by Tim Connell (2004-07). He now has 6,199.
           
Hawkins tied his own school mark with six touchdown passes and scored a seventh on a 1-yard keeper. He completed 22 of 40 passes for 326 yards but was picked off three times. Hawkins was also Central's leading rusher with 127 yards on 20 carries.
           
It was another big day for wide receiver Erik Knaack (junior, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) with nine catches for a career-high 222 yards and two scores. Running back Jason Hopp (sophomore, Earlham) had six catches for 48 yards and a score while rushing for 78 yards on 18 carries.  Do-it-all freshman Cameron Bannister (State Center, West Marshall HS) had five catches for 79 yards and a TD and ran for 36 yards on seven carries.
           
Central finished with 630 yards, topping the 600-yard mark for the second straight week. It was also a record eighth time the Dutch scored more than 40 points in nine games. Central passed for 381 yards overall and ran for 249. Wartburg nearly matched those numbers with 238 yards rushing, 356 yards passing and 594 overall.
           
Free safety Brayden Egli (sophomore, Saint Charles, Interstate 35 HS) again topped the Central tackle chart with 12, including seven solos, and had an interception. Linebacker Tate O'Tool (senior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) had nine stops and cornerback Tre Wilridge III (junior, Crowley, La., Tombstone, Ariz. HS) had a career-high eight tackles and forced a fumble.
           
Perhaps the only thing more surprising than Wartburg's second-half turnaround was Central's first-half eruption against the league's No. 1-ranked defense. Central came out firing as a pass from wide receiver Tanner Schminke (junior, Boone) to Knaack on the first play from scrimmage netted 55 yards. Hawkins matched his own school mark with five first-half touchdown passes as the Dutch bolted to a 42-14 lead. Central rolled up 441 first-half yards.
           
"We wanted to be aggressive," McMartin said. "We felt like that gave us our best chance and it did."
           
The Dutch kept their foot on the gas after the break, getting a fourth-down stop on Wartburg's first third-quarter possession, then raced 82 yards for yet another Hawkins TD toss for a lopsided 49-14 lead before the Dutch began to misfire.
           
"We wanted to be aggressive in the second half, too, and we got off to a good start and then just made mistakes," McMartin said. "The things you can't do, we did, and that got us into trouble. We stayed aggressive, but we threw interceptions, we got a punt blocked for a touchdown, we couldn't get defensive stops. It was just bad execution. That's my responsibility and I'm disappointed that happened.
           
"Give Wartburg credit, they battled back, they didn't quit, they kept making plays. They're a great football team. We were fortunate to win it."
           
But McMartin said Central's overtime persistence is a testament to his philosophy of focusing solely on the play ahead.
           
"I hope it shows our players that they need to keep believing," he said. "It's a one-play-at-a-time thing and each play is important. Our talk all week was about being focused, doing your job to the best of your ability, doing it with passion, not looking at the scoreboard and not thinking about what had happened. That played out today."
           
And it played out in ways few could have anticipated.
           
"This was a wild game," McMartin said. "When you walk on the field every week, I accept the fact that just about anything can happen."
           
It was a satisfying win but still leaves the Dutch a game short of their goal of at least a share of a conference title. That will require a win next Saturday at Coe and it was the Kohawks who spoiled Central's title hopes last year with a 27-24 overtime decision at Pella. They were off Saturday and bring a 6-3 overall record and 5-2 mark into next week's finale.
           
But that's next week. This Saturday was a Senior Day to remember for 22 Central seniors and their jubilant, albeit exhausted, fans.
           
"This will be a game these kids will never forget and I'm happy that they have that memory," McMartin said.

Sep. 25: All times Eastern
Final
at Mass-Dartmouth 52, Worcester State 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Framingham State 41, Westfield State 6
Video Box Score
Final
Alfred State 35, at Defiance 28
Video Box Score
Final
Lycoming 29, at Stevenson 28
Video Box Score
Final
Adrian 56, at Finlandia 6
Video Box Score
Final
MIT 27, at Dean 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Merchant Marine 56, Kean 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Salve Regina 50, Rowan 35
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
Gallaudet 49, at Greensboro 42
Video Box Score
Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 28, Fitchburg State 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 40, Western New England 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at FDU-Florham 31, Misericordia 20
Video Box Score
Final
Widener 21, at Albright 7
Video Box Score
Final
Alfred 10, at Kalamazoo 7
Video Box Score
Final
at RPI 41, St. John Fisher 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hope 52, Northwestern (Minn.) 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Ursinus 28, Franklin and Marshall 0
Video Box Score
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 38, at Bowdoin 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Middlebury 24, Bates 0
Video Box Score
Final
Union 30, at Utica 9
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 26, at LaGrange 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Husson 26, Springfield 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Huntingdon 21, at Brevard 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Susquehanna 31, Dickinson 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Lebanon Valley 24, King's 6
Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Lee 25, at Randolph-Macon 24
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Kenyon 24, Oberlin 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Ferrum 30, Apprentice 28
Video Box Score
Final
Hampden-Sydney 28, at Guilford 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Emory and Henry 38, Bridgewater 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Gettysburg 48, Juniata 42
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Albion 23, UW-Eau Claire 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Wilkes 23, Alvernia 0
Video
Final
at Methodist 37, Southern Virginia 14
Video Box Score
Final
Colby 10, at Amherst 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 33, Grove City 32
Video Box Score
Final
at William Paterson 28, SUNY-Maritime 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Wesleyan 30, Hamilton 14
Video
Final
Olivet 44, at Millsaps 27
Video Box Score
Final
Marietta 37, at Capital 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Baldwin Wallace 20, Heidelberg 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at Ohio Northern 56, Otterbein 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Anna Maria 29, at Coast Guard 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Muskingum 62, Wilmington 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
Christopher Newport 31, at Catholic 14
Video Box Score
Final
Mount Union 28, at John Carroll 14
Video Box Score
Final - OT
Williams 32, at Tufts 29
Video Box Score Photos
Final
TCNJ 31, at Nichols 0
Video
Final
DePauw 34, at Wooster 30
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Endicott 30, at Norwich 21
Video Video Box Score
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 28, at Allegheny 19
Video Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 54, at Moravian 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Montclair State 31, WPI 10
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Muhlenberg 23, at McDaniel 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Morrisville State 41, Buffalo State 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Aurora 70, Rockford 20
Video Box Score
Final
Concordia (Wis.) 28, at Concordia-Chicago 19
Video Box Score
Final
Rhodes 47, at Westminster (Mo.) 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Wartburg 28, Coe 7
Video
Final
at Buena Vista 32, Luther 7
Video
Final
at St. Olaf 40, Macalester 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Augsburg 54, at St. Scholastica 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 36, Concordia-Moorhead 21
Box Score
Final
Central 84, at Simpson 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Carleton 35, Hamline 7
Video Box Score
Final
at St. John's 31, Bethel 25
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 58, at North Park 27
Video
Final
Minnesota-Morris 24, at Crown 18
Video
Final
Howard Payne 49, at East Texas Baptist 38
Video Box Score
Final
Alma 35, at Martin Luther 27
Video
Final
at Benedictine 49, Eureka 29
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Loras 31, at Nebraska Wesleyan 30
Video
Final
at Trinity International 26, Greenville 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Carthage 62, Illinois Wesleyan 35
Video Box Score
Final
at Hendrix 49, Sewanee 27
Video Box Score
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 58, Augustana 6
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Washington U. 27, Elmhurst 7
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Lawrence 55, Castleton 3
Video
Final
at Pomona-Pitzer 44, Willamette 8
Video Box Score
Final
at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 29, Chapman 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at McMurry 41, Southwestern 31
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Sul Ross State 12, Texas Lutheran 10
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Hobart 58, Keystone 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Averett 47, Maryville (Tenn.) 10
Video Box Score
Final
Geneva 42, at Bethany 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 39, Waynesburg 3
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Washington and Jefferson 37, at Case Western Reserve 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Denison 21, Wittenberg 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Centre 14, Trine 7
Video Box Score
Final
St. Vincent 41, at Thiel 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Lakeland 40, St. Norbert 8
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 34, Hardin-Simmons 28
Box Score Photos
Final
at Millikin 32, Carroll 25
Video Box Score
Final
at Belhaven 41, Austin 14
Video Box Score
Oct. 2: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Washington U.
Video Live stats
3:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Geneva
Audio
1:30 PM
Muskingum at John Carroll
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Otterbein at Mount Union
1:00 PM
Salisbury at Montclair State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Ferrum
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Lycoming
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Gettysburg
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Johns Hopkins
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Hobart at Ithaca
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Cortland at Morrisville State
Live stats
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Whitewater
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-Platteville
Live stats
12:00 PM
Union at Buffalo State
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Austin
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
McMurry at Hardin-Simmons
Video Live stats Tickets
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Central
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Carroll
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
St. John's at Concordia-Moorhead
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Bethel
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at UW-River Falls
Video Live stats
4:30 PM
Linfield at Puget Sound
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Lewis and Clark at Whitworth
Video Live stats
Sep. 25: All times Eastern
Final
Washington and Jefferson 37, at Case Western Reserve 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 34, Hardin-Simmons 28
Box Score Photos
Final
Muhlenberg 23, at McDaniel 0
Video Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 54, at Moravian 6
Video Box Score
Final
Mount Union 28, at John Carroll 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Baldwin Wallace 20, Heidelberg 10
Box Score Recap
Final
Washington and Lee 25, at Randolph-Macon 24
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Union 30, at Utica 9
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 58, Augustana 6
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Salisbury 40, Western New England 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 58, at North Park 27
Video
Final
at St. John's 31, Bethel 25
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Central 84, at Simpson 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 29, Chapman 21
Video Box Score Photos