Central breaks open game in second half for 62-20 victory over Beavers
PELLA - The Buena Vista football team couldn’t overcome some missed opportunities in the early part of Saturday’s football game at Central College, and the Dutch would ultimately make the Beavers pay during a 62-20 setback.
BVU led 7-0 in the early going when Cole Miller hit Eric Pacheco with a shovel pass from a yard out. Central, however, came right back down the field just over a minute later and got a 26-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Hawkins, who threw four TD’s in the contest.
The Dutch grabbed their first lead of the game with under six minutes to play in the opening quarter when they returned a punt 68-yards down to the BVU four before fumbling, recovering and finding the endzone.
BVU began its ensuing drive at its own eight yard-line before marching all the way down to the Dutch 28, but the drive stalled there as the team turned it over on downs. The Beavers then forced the Dutch to go three-and-out. Following the punt, the Beavers began the ensuing drive at its own 37-yard line and marched all the way down inside the Central five, but would again turn it over on downs after gaining no yards following a first-and-goal from the two.
“We are still looking to put together a game where all three phases play well at the same time,” said head coach Grant Mollring. “Our offense sustained drives and was able to rush the ball better than at any point this year. We needed to convert the chance in the red zone to tie the game and continue to keep pressure on Central.”
Central took over with 7:02 left in the first half from its own two and was again facing a third-and-long from its own six, but would get a big eight-yard completion for the first down. Six plays later, the Dutch began to slightly pull away late in the half, getting a 60-yard touchdown strike and taking a 21-7 lead. The Beavers were then forced to punt on the next drive, and the Dutch took over, going 57 yards in eight plays to build a 28-7 cushion heading into the half.
“Special teams play continues to be a spot where we need improvement and we are working very hard to rectify those mistakes we are making,” adds Mollring. “Defensively, we faced a very explosive offense and they were able to gain and keep momentum on us in the third quarter and that ultimately turned the tide of the game.”
It was all Dutch in the second half, scoring 21 points in the third for a 49-7 lead. Miller and Pacheco again hooked up early in the fourth, but it was too-little-too-late, as Central also added a pair of fourth quarter scores.
The Beavers did rush for a season-best 211 yards on the ground, including a career-best 71 from sophomore Josh Werge on 11 carries. Kobi Martin Jr followed with 43 while Bryland Menicucci added 41. Miller tossed for 195 yards and two scores while Pacheco hauled in nine catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Miller now sits two touchdown passes away from moving into a tie for second-place on the program’s career list of 49 set by Hall of Famer Rollie Wiebers from 1975-78. Caleb Herrick had three catches for 32 yards and his second career touchdown.
Central (5-0, 3-0 A-R-C) edged BVU in total offense, 450-438, despite running 27 fewer plays and registering five fewer first downs. The Dutch are now alone atop the conference standings following Wartburg’s loss at home against Simpson in overtime.
Gary Weaver was one of three players tied for the team lead with seven total tackles, including three for a loss.
Buena Vista is now 1-4 on the year (0-3 A-R-C) and will turn its focus to next Saturday as it hosts Loras College for Homecoming. Kickoff at J. Leslie Rollins Stadium is set for 1 p.m.