ICCAC Team Previews

The Iowa Community College Athletic Association provides JCFootball.com with a team-by-team look at the conference. Last year's champs, North Iowa Area, lost a lot of talented players on defense but always find their way to a bowl. North Dakota State CS is coming off a down year and will try to rebound with a new coach and one of the nation's most productive tailbacks, Terrance Freeney. Here's a rundown and JCFootball.com's predictions for who'll win out.


Panthers At A Glance

2001: 5-5 Overall; 3-5 ICCAC (3rd)

Coach: John Sala - At Ellsworth CC, 0-0, 1st year

Returning Starters: 10; 4 Offensive, 6 Defensive

Overview: Coach Sala and his team are coming off a Pepsi Cola/Sigler Printing Bowl shellacking of Fergus Falls (MN) and are excited about the upcoming season.   The Panthers has a successful recruiting class coming in to go along with their veteran leadership. 

Returning Players on Offense: Coach John Sala enters his first season at the helm of the Panthers program with 4 returning offensive starters lead by wide receiver Nate Oberender.  Oberender, a Pre-Season second-team All-American, caught 24 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown last season.  Also returning are wide out Frankie Jenkins, tight end Chris Logan and offensive linemen Greg Ohlson.

Returning Players on Defense:  Linemen Jamall Simpson and defensive back Terrance Jones will lead the Panthers on defensive this season.  Simpson was an All – Region Honorable Mention selection last season and Jones had 4 interceptions with one returned for a touchdown.  Also back will be linebackers James Dotson and Reggie Lesan along with linemen Tagarius Spikes and defensive back Santino Turnbow.

Players to Watch: QB Michael Byrd, FB Matt Meek, TE Jordan Sallis, LB Timarley Bennett, LB Tim Campbell, DB Kareem Goodwin, PK David Lonie


Tritons At A Glance

2001: 7-3 Overall; 6-2 ICCAC (2nd)

Coach: Kevin Twait - At Iowa Central CC, 35-27, 6 years

Returning Starters: 14; 8 Offensive, 6 Defensive

Overview: Iowa Central CC must replace an outstanding defensive secondary as well as their top 2 quarterbacks but should be strong on both the offensive and defensive line of scrimmage.  Coach Twait will look for both Spellman and Mack to lead the Tritons on offense this year.

Returning Players on Offense: Coach Twait has 8 starters returning on the offensive side of the ball with half of them earning Honorable Mention All – Region awards last year.  They include tailbacks Ben Spellman (541 yards, 3 TD's) and Cory Mack (470 yards, 3 TD's) who both will be looked upon to carry the load this season.  Sophomore fullback Reggie Brown and wide receiver Steven Rush are also back for their sophomore season.  The offensive line has four starters back and include Todd Rogers, Cole Scott, Luke Stigler and Jarrod Verge.

Returning Players on Defense: The Tritons have 2 first team All–Region players back this season.  Pre-Season All–American Robert Savitsky will return to anchor the defensive line with tackle Robert Taylor, linebackers Vahn Schumacher and Danny Triplett and James Idleburgh back at strong safety.  First-team All–Region punter Justin Porter is returning for another season.

Players to Watch: WR DeVon Clark, OL Cody Pickens, OL Kyle Rueter, OL Justin Mohr, DL Curtis Head, DL Steve Wegner, DL Cory Reitz, DL Nate Winey.


Trojans At A Glance

2001: 9-2 Overall; 7-1 ICCAC (1st)

Coach: Dick Ramsey - At North Iowa Area CC, 103-55-1, 16 years

Returning Starters: 8; 6 Offensive, 2 Defensive

Overview: Under the direction of 16th year head coach, Dick Ramsey, North Iowa Area Community College has just completed their thirteenth winning season.  The 2001 Trojans placed first in the conference with a 7-1 record but suffered a heartbreaking 14-7 loss to the #4 ranked Joliet Wolves in the Pepsi Cola/Sigler Printing Bowl.  NIACC finished the 2001 season with a 9-2 record and ranked #10 in the final NJCAA Poll. The Trojans have participated in a post-season bowl 7 out of the past 12 seasons with wins in 1990, 1993, and 1998.

Returning Players on Offense: Coach Ramsey returns 3 key offensive players this season in Quarterback Michael Lawrence and running back Robert Anderson with Gabe Vargas anchoring the offensive line.  The Trojans will need to replace Conference MVP Ben Dougherty and two other first team All–Region Players, Joe Price and Chris Newby.

Returning Players on Defense: The Trojans will only return 2 starters on defensive but include Honorable Mention All–Region selection Craig Edwards at linebacker and Josh Pesek at the outside linebacker.  They will however return 8 lettermen from last years 8th ranked defense.

Players to Watch: QB Michael Lawrence, RB Robert Anderson, LB Craig Edwards


Wildcats At A Glance

2001: 3-7 Overall; 2-6 ICCAC (4th)

Coach: Mike Beagle - At North Dakota State College of Science, 0-0, 1 year

Returning Starters: 7; 3 Offensive, 4 Defensive

Returning Players on Offense: First-year head coach Mike Beagle returns 3 starters to this year's offense: running backs Terrance Freeney and Benge Ortiz and quarterback Anthony Ekren.  Freeney, a Pre-Season All–American, was second in the nation last season in rushing as he racked up over 1,400 yards and scored eleven touchdowns.

Returning Players on Defense: The Wildcats have Honorable Mention All–Region selection Chris Caldwell back to anchor the defensive line.  Coach Beagle also returns linebacker Caleb Rudnick and defensive back James Crowther.  North Dakota also returns punter Peter Schletz this season.  Schletz averaged 33 yards a punt and had 1,872 yards.

Players to Watch:  WR Rashem Sharpe, WR Neuby Ras, DL Mike Draper

Overview: The Wildcats will have a good nucleus of players returning for the 2002 campaign.  Freeney will lead the Wildcats on offense this season with Caldwell leading the charge on the defensive side. 

Predicted Order of Finish (by JCFootball.com)

1. Iowa Central
2. Ellsworth



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