INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Trevor Heitland is a running back again, and that appears to be a very good thing.
He loves it. Coe College’s football team had to love the production it got from him Saturday afternoon.
“The coaches mentioned it during spring ball last year, and we kind of solidified it in mid-summer,” Heitland said, after Coe’s 35-20 season-opening win Saturday afternoon over Wisconsin-River Falls at Clark Field. “I’ve always felt more comfortable at running back. But I’ll do whatever helps the team win.”
The senior was a wide receiver his previous three seasons for the Kohawks, but there was a need for a quality back in Coe’s spread offense coming into 2016. Heitland was a really good one at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, so this was an obvious decision.
He had four touchdowns here: two rushing and two receiving.
“He’s a dynamic player,” said Tyler Staker, a winner in his first game as a head coach. “He catches it well out of the backfield. They played a lot of man-to-man, so we liked that matchup. Whenever we can get Trevor matched up with a linebacker out of the backfield, we like that.”
Heitland scored on runs of 1 and 7 yards to help Coe get out to a 14-0 lead after a quarter. He caught a flat pass from quarterback Gavin Glenn early in the second quarter and negotiated his way downfield for a 26-yard touchdown, then found himself wide open downfield on a neat counter fake play for a 21-yard TD that put Coe up early in the third, 28-0.
Heitland ended up rushing 16 times for 80 yards and caught seven passes for 135.
“I think everyone was just playing well together,” he said. “The quarterback play was really good today, the o-line played really well, the defense gave us great field position on a lot of drives. It was just kind of a whole team effort that helped me out.”
Glenn completed 19 of 31 passes for 308 yards and three TDs. Coe’s defense got a pair of first-half interceptions from cornerback Rory Siddell, including one on the second play of the game.
River Falls got two of its TDs in the final seven minutes of the game. Going almost exclusively to the air in the second half, Falcons QB Sawyer Moon threw a whopping 62 passes, completing only 25 of them for 287 yards.
“We did a great job of coming out fast,” said Siddell, a junior from Solon. “That was what we wanted to do. Obviously the goal is to come out fast, score some points and get some turnovers. Our goal was to be plus-three today with the turnovers. I think we accomplished that goal.”
“I was really happy with the way we started the game,” Staker said. “There are some things we need to do better, as we finish football games. But I was really happy with the effort our guys put forth.”
Coe plays at Cornell next Saturday night in the latest edition of the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River.
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