Coe wins statistical battle, but loses game to Central, 30-19

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Tyler Staker isn’t one to throw out a lot of four-letter words. Cussing is not his style.

So to fully understand the level of the Coe football coach’s frustrations with a 30-19 loss Saturday afternoon to Central at dreary Clark Field, you just needed to hear him utter phrases like “dang it” and “gosh dang it.”

For him, that’s swearing up a storm.

“We played a fairly good football game today,” he said. “But we just came up short.”

From a pure statistical standpoint, Coe (3-3, 1-3 Iowa Conference) owned this game.

The Kohawks had more first downs, more rushing yards, more passing yards, ran way more plays and had the football 15 more minutes than their opponent. Wide receiver Demetrius Harper tied a school record with 14 catches.

But what did all of that give Coe? Nothing but their third straight defeat.

“Tough one,” summarized defensive lineman Daniel Vega. “Pretty frustrated, but I think we’ll be able to bounce back. We just need to get one good win, and I think we’ll be all right. I’ve got a lot of confidence we can do that.”

You could point to a questionable third-down defensive holding call on Coe late in the second quarter that Central (4-3, 3-2) followed on the very next play with a touchdown pass and a 20-12 lead. You could look at a Coe TD run midway through the fourth quarter that was negated by a penalty for chop blocking.

You could look at three Kohawk turnovers (all interceptions). Point to Coe being unable to fall on a blocked punt in the end zone early in the second quarter, settling for a safety instead of a TD.

All of those things were pivotal.

“Some things didn’t go our way,” Staker said. “It’s tough to turn the ball over against a good team. I told our guys that we fought hard, there’s nothing much to be ashamed of. It stings right now. It stings for everybody, especially the seniors. You’ve got to stand up, be a man, come back tomorrow and start getting back to work.”

Individual stars were numerous here.

Central kicker Jon Albert nailed three field goals, including a 40-yarder on the final play of the first half. All-American receiver Sam Markham had 188 yards in receptions and two touchdowns for the Dutch.

Harper, obviously, was the main target for Coe quarterback Quentin White. Fourteen catches is a ton.

“It’s special, but it sucks that we didn’t come out with the ‘W,’” he said. “I care more about the team winning than my individual stats. To tie a school record is an accomplishment, but it’s too bad that we lost.”

Coe plays next week at Loras. Central has a bye.

Before the game, former NFL running back Fred Jackson and his twin brother, Patrick, were inducted into Coe’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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