A look at the upcoming IIAC football season

by David Morain and Seth Nailor

Buena Vista

Coach – Steve Osterberger

Last Season – 5-5 overall, 4-5 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: The Beavers return most of their skill position players, including standout running back Craig Rowedder (847 yds, 10 touchdowns last season). Quarterback Eric Jamison will rely on the experience of tight end Trent Grundmeyer and wide receiver Joshua Espinosa to make the BV passing game work.

Defense: Buena Vista ranked seventh in total defense last season after giving up 320 yards per game. Defensive lineman James Mitchell is a bright spot on an otherwise dim defensive squad. The Beavers will need someone else to step up in order to make a run in the IIAC this year.

Projected finish: Ninth


Coach – Rich Kacmarynski

Last Season – 9-2 overall, 8-1 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: The IIAC defending champs lost four first-team all-conference starters from their offense, but anyone who pays attention to Division III football will tell you that the Dutch don’t rebuild, they reload. Central boasted the best passing attack last season but are looking for a new field general following the departure of all-conference quarterbaack Jeff Borgman. The offensive line returns four starters, which is good news for running back Joey Liekweg, who sat out last season with a shoulder injury. If they solve their quarterback quandary, the Dutch should have a shot at defending their conference title.

Defense: A deep lineback corps, led by first-team all-conference Austin Bonnema (90 tackles, five sacks, 10 tackles for loss in 2001), will be the key to a tough Dutch defense. The defensive backfield has only one returning starter, Eric Beer, from last season. This may decide how far the Dutch expect to go in the conference.

Projected finish: Second


Coach – Erik Raeburn

Last Season – 6-4 overall, 6-3 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: Coe returns senior running back Fredrick Jackson, last year’s conference MVP who led the IIAC with 2,005 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns. The Kohawks have experience at wide receiver, including super-soph Jon Rife, to comfort whoever wins the three-way battle for quarterback. David Stevens, 6-4, 279 lbs., anchors the offensive line.

Defense: The Kohawks look to be tough on opposing offensive units this year. Eight defensive starters return from a squad that ranked fifth in total defense last season. Leading the secondary will be Patrick Jackson, brother of Fredrick, a first-team all-conference selection last season.

Projected finish: Third


Coach – Ray Reasland

Last Season – 7-3 overall, 6-3 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: First-team all-conference quarterback Chris Lovely will look to repeat the magic of last season’s surprising third-place finish. To get there, Lovely will need help from an untested troop of skill position players. Junior slot back Rusty Yansky will need Paul Meek 6-2, 310 lbs., and the rest of the offensive line to get the Rams running in the right direction.

Defense: Second-team all-conference senior Darryl Allen will lead the front four, a team that only allowed 103 yards per game on the ground last year. Second-team all-conference linebacker Chet Knake had 14 tackles for loss last season. 2001 IIAC Coach of the Year Ray Reasland will need to bolster a defensive secondary that ranked last in the conference against the pass to make a serious run at the conference title.

Projected finish: Fifth


Coach – Vincent Brautigam

Last Season – 2-8 overall, 1-8 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: Coach Vincent Brautigam will have a tough time deciding if he’s running a football team or a babysitting service; 90 out of the 105 football players are sophomores or freshmen. Quarterback Matthew Rear (1330 yds, nine touchdowns in 2001) will lead the young Spartans this season. For the Dubuque football squad to be able to move the ball these kids will have to grow up fast.

Defense: A group that ranked last in total defense (allowed 350.2 yards per game last season) will be hurt by the departure of first-team all-conference defensive back Brian Walker, who opted for the NFL Draft but was not drafted. The dynamic duo of linebackers Greg Marsh (eight and a half sacks, 16 tackles for loss in 2001) and Nate McCullough (six sacks in 2001) will have to play well again this season to stop IIAC offenses from rolling all over the Spartans again this year.

Projected finish: Tenth


Coach – Bob Bierie

Last Season – 5-5 overall, 4-5 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: Experience will be the key for the Duhawks this season with eight starters returning from last year’s offensive squad. QB Adam Hamil (1280 yards, 16 touchdowns in 2001) will look to turn last year’s personal success into this year’s wins. Running backs Jeremy Brown and Quentin Smith will lead a rushing attack that averaged 171.3 yards per game last season.

Defense: Dusty Oberbroeckling , 6-4, 290 lbs., and Mike Frels (10.5 sacks, 23 tackles for loss in 2001) are a pair of second-team all-conference defensive linemen that will need to repeat last year’s performance in order to keep Loras in contention. The Duhawk defense gave up 346.4 yards per game last year, ninth in the conference.

Projected finish: Sixth


Coach – Paul Hefty

Last Season – 3-7 overall, 2-7 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: The quarterback position is up for grabs in Decorah this season. Derek Distin took over the reins five games into the 2001 campaign after Tom Krambeer broke his leg. Distin was good for 921 yards and four touchdowns in his substitute role, but his nine interceptions gives cause for concern. Juniors Mike Jefferson (601 rushing yards in 2001) and Clint Willuweit (306 rushing yards in 2001) lead a weak backfield, and wide receiver Ashley Johnson (211 receiving yards in 2001) highlights an even weaker receiving corps.

Defense: The Norse defense will be the key to winning games this season. Luther was second in total defense last year. This season they will be led by junior linebackers Jason Grimm (45 tackles, four sacks in 2001) and Dan Roggenbuck (39 tackles, 11 tackles for loss in 2001).

Projected finish: Eighth


Coach – Jay Niemann

Last Season – 4-6 overall, 4-5 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: The passing combo of Mike Donnenwerth (1412 passing yards, 10 touchdowns in 2001) and first-team all conference wide receiver Jesse Von Behren (821 receiving yards, eight touchdowns in 2001) look to figure prominently into the Simpson attack this season. Tight end Jason Schnell and wide receivers Ryan Grinstead, Mike Tiedeman, Kyle Peterson and Jeromy Keehn will allow Donnenwerth to keep his options open. Senior Treye Nekola and junior Doug Dodds bring experience to a tough offensive line.

Defense: New coach Jay Niemann brings his hard-nosed defense to a Storm unit that gave up 310 yards per game last year. The new Storm look will feature a 4-3 defensive scheme, a change from last year’s three-man front. Defensive linemen Caleb Sellers and Josh Lullmann will team with linebackers Todd Samuels and Ben Jauer to stop the run.

Projected finish: Fourth

Upper Iowa

Coach – Craig Johnston

Last Season – 3-7 overall, 3-6 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: Quarterback Ben Jass (1471 passing yards, 10 touchdowns in 2001) and a pair of athletic wide receivers, senior Aaron Fredette (460 receiving yards, five touchdowns in 2001) and super-soph Jesse Montalto (317 receiving yards, one touchdown in 2001) will lead the Peacocks. Their running game is suspect, with 5-9 Antone Lopez (333 rushing yards, one touchdown in 2001) penciled in as starter.

Defense: The Upper Iowa defense revolves around Likaki Malaki, 6-1, 240 lbs., a second-team all-conference selection in 2001. Malaki will need help from fellow linebackers Jimmie McCray and Travon Kitchen if the Peacocks want to improve on their last-place rushing defense (196.7 yards per game) of a year ago.

Projected finish: Seventh


Coach – Rick Willis

Last Season – 8-2 overall, 7-2 conference

2002 Outlook:

Offense: The Knights will look to lengthen their 22-game home winning streak this year with second-team all-conference quarterback Jake Olson (1751 passing yards, 17 touchdowns in 2001) at the helm. First-team all-conference running back Justin Beatty (1385 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns in 2001) will run behind a solid offensive line, anchored by second-team all-conference Jeff Voreis, 6-4, 251 lbs., ensuring a balanced attack that will give IIAC defenses fits all year.

Defense: Wartburg returns many of the key components from a defense that was ranked third nationally a year ago. First-team all-conference defensive lineman Vince King, 6-2, 229 lbs., led the IIAC in tackles for loss in 2001 with 26. Ryan Winters (58 tackles, three tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries in 2001), a first-team all-conference linebacker, leads a defense that held opponents to 89.4 rushing yards per game last year. The strong defensive secondary will feature second-team all-conference Cody Kelley (six interceptions, one fumble recovery in 2001) and Eugene Thomas (five interceptions, nine pass breakups in 2001).

Projected finish: First