Central football slate includes six home games

Central football slate includes six home games

Josh Van Gysel

Dan L. Vander Beek Photography

First-team all-conference linebacker Josh Van Gysel is among Central’s returning starters for 2022.


Dutch open Sept. 3 against St. Olaf; Wis.-Eau Claire added for 2022

PELLA—Riding a 17-game regular-season win streak and coming off a memorable American Rivers championship campaign, the Central College football team will make six home appearances this fall.

Athletics director Eric Van Kley released the 10-game 2022 Dutch schedule, which has the season’s first three games at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium. Central gets a return visit from St. Olaf College (Minn.) to open the year Sept. 3 and adds the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from the powerful Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as a non-conference opponent at Pella Sept. 10. The Dutch then open their conference title defense against Loras College at home Sept. 17.

For the second year in a row, Wartburg College is Central’s homecoming opponent, on Oct. 8. The Dutch make road trips to Nebraska Wesleyan Oct. 1, Buena Vista University Oct. 15, Coe College Oct. 29 and the University of Dubuque Nov 12.

All games start at 1 pm

Central’s 46-27 win at St. Olaf Sept. 4 was its narrowest regular-season 2021 victory margin. It was the first meeting ever between the two programs. The Oles were 5-5 last year.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire was 3-7 overall with a 1-6 mark in the rugged WIAC but posted lopsided non-conference wins over American Rivers foes Luther College and Loras College. This fall’s contest will be Central’s second-ever meeting with the Blugolds. The two teams met in the 1998 NCAA Division III playoffs with Wisconsin-Eau Claire prevailing 28-21.

coach Jeff McMartin is expected to return 10 starters from last year’s squad which won a record 32nd conference title, posted a 10-0 regular-season record, made a 22nd NCAA Division III playoff appearance, reached the national quarterfinals and closed at 12-1 overall.

Graduation left some big holes in the lineup, most notably by Gagliardi Trophy winner Blaine Hawkinsa consensus all-America choice, and Associated Press and D3football.com all-America wide receiver Tanner Schminke. Also gone are D3football.com all-America honorees Joshua Mayhewan offensive guard, Blade Durbalaa defensive lineman, and Hunter Maddy, a defensive end. The team broke 61 school records and won nine Division III statistical titles.

McMartin, who was named the AFCA Division III Coach of the Year, has posted a 140-43 (.765) record and will be heading into his 19th season.

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