MOUNT PLEASANT – A new coaching era for Iowa Wesleyan College football begins on Saturday when new Head Coach Kent Anderson makes his debut as the Tigers take on Trinity International University at 1 p.m. at Leslie Frazier Field in Deerfield, Ill.
The Tigers start off the 2010 season with a Mid-States Football Association crossover game against the Trojans, a member of the MSFA Mideast League. IWC will be looking for its third straight win in a season opener and its second straight season opening win over TIU. Wesleyan defeated Trinity 29-7 last year in the opener for both teams, as Jaren Maybin rushed for two touchdowns, T.J. Tolliver (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.) threw for 163 yards, and the Tiger defense pitched a shutout until the visiting Trojans scored a touchdown in the final minute of the game.
Along with the natural excitement that comes with the open of a new season, the game also marks the first game as Tigers coach for Anderson, who was hired in December to replace former coach Jason Smelser. Anderson, a 1985 graduate of Iowa State and a native of Bloomfield, Iowa, was a big success the past 15 years coaching in Germany. He won nearly 73% of his games, piling up a 182-62-5 record and winning six German Football League national championships, and now has come back to America and his home state of Iowa for his first college head coaching job.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – Saturday’s game actually will feature two new head coaches, as Trinity International also has a new coach in 2010. Kirk Wherritt takes over as coach and replaces Mike Gims, who coached the team the past two years. Wherritt moves up from an assistant position, as he was the team’s offensive coordinator last year.
Wherritt will attempt to revive a once-proud program that had four straight winning seasons early in the 2000’s but has fallen on hard times of late. The Trojans finished 0-11 last year and have won a total of three games over the past three seasons. TIU has brought in a number of new faces this year and found a threat at quarterback last season in Daniel Beals, who took over the position in his freshman year. Beals threw for 864 yards and five touchdowns last year and also was the team’s leading returning rusher with 367 yards and five TD’s. TIU does have a star on defense in Tyler Boblit, a senior linebacker who had 88 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss last year. Boblit also had four sacks, three fumbles forced and three fumbles recovered and is one of the most dominant defenders returning in the MSFA.
SERIES HISTORY – IWC and Trinity International are meeting for the 16th time, with TIU holding an 11-4 lead in the series. The Tigers have won the last two meetings, winning last year and also winning 24-14 in the last meeting at TIU back in 2008. The Trojans’ last win in the series came in 2007, a 17-14 win in Mount Pleasant. The Tigers posted their other wins in the series in 1989 and 1999.
IWC QUICK PREVIEW – Iowa Wesleyan returns 14 starters from last year’s team, which finished 2-9 overall, 1-6 in the MSFA Midwest. Three Honorable Mention All-MSFA Midwest players return in offensive linemen Eric Davis (Jr.-Clemons, Iowa) and Tyler Stewart (Jr.-Merritt Island, Fla.) and defensive back Darious Watson (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.).
The offense returns considerable experience at offensive line and wide receiver. Four full-time starters from last year return on the O-Line, including Davis, Stewart, Tim Chavez (Sr.-Champaign, Ill.) and Alexander Llewellyn (So.-Alton, Ill.). A fifth lineman, Nate Schrock (Jr.-Mediapolis, Iowa), started five games last year and has started a total of 15 games in his first two years. At receiver the Tigers return Lawrence Moore (Sr.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) and Greg Fields (Sr.-St. Louis, Mo.), both of whom have the chance to leave their marks on the all-time lists at Wesleyan. Moore has a chance to finish his career as the school’s all-time leader in yards receiving and with a big season could also set the IWC mark for career receptions. Fields also comes into his senior season 12th on the all-time list in career receptions.
Watson is the quarterback of the defense and last year ranked among the MSFA leaders in tackles. The Tiger defense returns less experience than the offense but has changed schemes, switching from the 3-4 front the team used the past several years. Several newcomers also will be counted on to step in on defense. Among them are junior college transfer linebacker Sailialii (Mike) Tupai (Jr.-San Francisco, Calif.) and Tolliver, a newcomer in the sense that he has moved over from the offensive side of the ball, switching to cornerback after playing as a quarterback the last two years.
YOUTH REIGNS – IWC features eight seniors in the 2010 season, a small number but a buffet of veteran experience compared to Trinity International. The Trojans have just four seniors on the roster compared to 40 freshmen. TIU does feature 19 juniors, as Wherritt and his staff stocked up on junior college transfers in recruiting. In all just 25 players return from the Trojans’ roster at the end of last season.
RUSHING ATTACK? – To say IWC is green in the offensive backfield at the running back spot would be an understatement. The Tigers’ leading returning rusher is Brian Schrock (Jr.-Congerville, Ill.), who gained 36 yards on the ground last year. As if that small number already wouldn’t be of concern, there’s also the fact that Schrock is a defensive back who gained those 36 yards on three fake punts last year. Wesleyan’s leading returning running back from last year is Harrison Ballard (So.-Rockledge, Fla.), who rushed five times for 16 yards in the first three games of 2009 before an injury ended his season. Ballard is back and is scheduled to be the starter for Saturday’s opener.
ON THE AIRWAVES – Iowa Wesleyan College will again be providing online broadcasts of Tiger football for the 2010 season. Saturday’s game will be available at http://www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia. IWC sports information director Adam Glatczak will provide play-by-play. Trinity International also will broadcast the game online at http://www.tiutrojans.com, with Tom Wuestenfeld calling the action.
For more information regarding the IWC football program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics Web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Complete IWC-TIU Game Notes