MOUNT PLEASANT – The Iowa Wesleyan College football team tries again to get on track this weekend when it faces Waldorf College in a Mid-States Football Association Midwest League contest at 2 p.m. Saturday in Forest City.
The Tigers have faced a tough past four weeks, including last week’s 51-6 loss to the University of St. Francis (Ill.). Wesleyan had just 18 yards of total offense and allowed over 500 to the Fighting Saints, who got their first win of the season.
IWC will get a good idea of where it is and where it can go the rest of the season with the game against Waldorf. The Tigers blew out the Warriors 41-0 last year in their season opener, and Waldorf went on to finish 1-10 last year. The Warriors are currently 1-2 this year, with their one win coming against the same Trinity International team that Wesleyan opened its season against with a win.
Waldorf comes into the game off a tough loss of its own, a 45-13 defeat by Grand View University last week. Waldorf fell behind 31-0 in the first quarter against the Vikings and committed six turnovers. Waldorf quarterback RocTerrious Hobbs was also sacked six times in the game, and GVU ran for 269 yards against the Warrior defense.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT – It is Homecoming weekend at Waldorf, which is led by third-year Head Coach Greg Youngblood and is in its first season in the MSFA after competing as an independent since becoming an NAIA member in 2003. The school has struggled in football since transitioning from a junior college to a four-year school early in the decade but, apart from the first quarter against Grand View, has been very competitive in its first three games this year.
The Warriors are again running the option-based offense they’ve featured the past few years. Erskinte Henderson has been a big play threat from a slot-back position and also is second on the team with seven receptions. Hobbs has started at quarterback the first three games but left last week’s game against Grand View with a knee injury, and Jairo Lopez finished the game at QB.
Defensively, Waldorf has switched from a 3-4 front to a 4-3 this year. In three games the Warriors are allowing an average of 370 yards per game, but Waldorf is doing an excellent job on third down, allowing opponents to convert just seven of 27 (25.9%) on third down plays so far. The Warriors are second in the MSFA in pass defense (144.7 ypg) but rank 15th in run defense (225.3 ypg).
SERIES HISTORY – The Tigers and Warriors have met four times, all coming in the past four years. The road team has won all four meetings, with Waldorf winning games in 2005 and 2007 and IWC winning in 2006 and 2008. Last year Bryan Abihider threw for five touchdown passes, with Lawrence Moore (Jr.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) catching four of them, the second-most TD receptions in a game in school history. Wesleyan also posted its biggest scoring output and largest margin of victory in six years.
Other than last year’s shutout win, the Tigers’ other win in the series was Sept. 2, 2006, a 10-3 win in Forest City in which Tremell Jones tied a school record with four interceptions on his way to being named NAIA National Defensive Player of the Week.
TURNOVER MARGIN – Turnovers are always a key and will likely play a big role again this week, especially with an IWC offense still trying to find some consistency. The Tigers are at -3 for the season in turnovers to rank 10th in the MSFA, while the Warriors are at -5 over their three games to rate 15th of 16 teams in the conference. Wesleyan has especially seen that statistic turn around the past few games, though, with a -6 margin that includes seven turnovers committed to just one turnover recovered from opponents, that being an interception by Deevonte Browning (Fr.-Deland, Fla.) that led to Jaren Maybin (Sr.-Baltimore, Md.) scoring on a one-yard touchdown run that accounted for the Tigers’ only points last week against St. Francis.
YOUNG AND GREEN – There is little doubt that youth and injuries is playing at least some role in the struggles of the Tigers lately. A total of eight freshmen are starting for the team right now, and that includes a freshman starting quarterback as well as five freshman starters on defense. To add even more to that, eight of the 11 back-ups on the defense are freshmen, and all of them are receiving a good share of playing time in the rotations at their respective positions.
IWC also has been bitten by key injuries, including some at quarterback and the offensive line. No area has been hit harder than the kicking game, where last week the Tigers were down to their third-string punter. Josh Feliciano (So.-San Diego, Calif.) was injured against McKendree, and last week back-up punter/starting linebacker Scott Baldwin (Sr.-Penn Valley, Calif.) was injured in the second quarter and missed the second half. Darious Watson (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) had to step into punting duties in the second half and punted five times. Watson also took off running on one fourth down play and gained a first down on his first collegiate carry.
FAMILIAR FACE – One of the coaches on the Waldorf staff is a face who was well-known at Iowa Wesleyan for a number of years. Eric Prins is the assistant head coach for the Warriors and serves as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Prins coached women’s basketball at IWC for 10 years from 1987-97 and ranks third on the all-time wins list at the school. He also spent 16 years at Wesleyan as a football assistant coach, coaching in a variety of capacities from 1986-2001.
ON THE AIRWAVES – Iowa Wesleyan College will be broadcasting online for Saturday’s game as well as the rest of the Tiger football games throughout the season. An online broadcast will be available at www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia. IWC Sports Information Director Adam Glatczak and football redshirt Kenrick Lawson will be calling the game. Waldorf will also feature its own radio broadcast for the game, as KIOW FM 107.3 in Forest City will be broadcasting the game. Warriors radio voice Orin Harris will be calling the game, and a Web stream will be available online at www.kiow.com.
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.
IWC/Waldorf Complete Game Notes