The Luther football team (2-5, 1-3 IIAC) dug itself a hole early, trailing Central (4-3, 2-2 IIAC) 9-0 just three minutes into Saturday's 22-12 loss in Pella.
Despite the early set-back, the Norse battled back to within three points midway through the third stanza but another turnover led to the final outcome.
On the very first play from scrimmage, the Norse fumbled, and three plays later the Dutch led 7-0. On the very next series, Central blocked a Luther punt, which traveled out of the end zone for a safety.
Midway through the second quarter, Luther put together an 81-yard drive on seven plays, capped off by a six-yard run by JJ Sirios. Sirios, who led the rushing attack with 79 yards on 14 carries, left the game midway through the fourth quarter with what could be a season-ending injury.
Central held a 15-6 halftime advantage after turning a Norse fumble into a 28-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the half.
The Norse pulled to within three points (15-12) with 4:07 left in the third quarter. A one-yard plunge by Josh Vos, his 11th touchdown of the season, completed a 15-play drive that covered 68 yards.
Central scored its final touchdown of the afternoon recovering a bad snap on a punt by the Norse, in the end zone with nine seconds left in the third.
Defensively, Luther held Central to 239 yards of total offense. Matt Larson and Aric Elton led the way with 15 and 13 tackles respectively.
The Norse returns home Saturday to host Buena Vista University. Kick-off will take place in Carlson Stadium at 1 p.m.