MARION - As the prep volleyball season nears the midway point, Cedar Rapids Xavier identified a vital ingredient if the Saints are to retain their No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.
Now is the time to turn up the defense.
The top-ranked Saints s ... »
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CEDAR RAPIDS — He wasn’t completely sure whose they were.
Trevor Heitland had multiple teammates throwing cleats his way when he destroyed a shoelace in the second quarter Saturday. Fellow Cedar Rapids Kennedy grad Tyler Dralle gave him his pair, but they didn’t fit.
Finally someone came through with the right size. He thought maybe it was freshman wide receiver Justin Neukam.
It was, as Neukam stood on the sideline in socks. Heitland and his substitute kicks accounted for 232 yards rushing and receiving and two touchdowns as Coe opened its Iowa Conference schedule with a 45-10 win over Loras at Clark Field.
“One of the runs, someone stepped on my shoelaces, and they just ripped out,” Heitland said. “So I came to the sideline to find some shoelaces. Then I realized that (the whole thing) got ripped, and I was like ‘I need new shoes.’”
Heitland rushed for 156 yards and scored on a 1-yard plunge in the second quarter. The versatile senior back also popped a 71-yard play for a score, catching a short, quick pass in the flat from quarterback Gavin Glenn and breaking loose.
Coe (3-0) piled up 571 yards: 258 rushing and 313 passing.
“I thought we played well,” Heitland said. “We came out a little slow, a little sluggish. We knew that they were going to be a good team, that they were going to blitz a lot, give us different looks. But I think we picked them up pretty well and just found the (plays) that worked.”
The Kohawks appear to be a much-improved club on the defensive side this season. They forced four Loras turnovers, including a 25-yard pick-six interception from cornerback Dylan Stepleton.
That was just one of three picks for the senior from Tipton. He has five the last two weeks.
“Our gameplan, we watched a lot of film on them,” Stepleton said. “But, really, it comes down to our D-line getting a lot of pressure and our inside linebackers picking up the guys they need to pick up. They’re doing a great job. Everyone is doing their part right now. Everyone is really confident in each other and playing their roles.”
Coe sacked Loras QB Nolan Baumhover five times, including twice by defensive end Robbie Peters. In one second-half sequence, Peters had three consecutive tackles for loss.
He’s from Mount Vernon. His other defensive linemates include Drew Heitland (Kennedy), Andrew Netolicky (C.R. Prairie), Daniel Vega (C.R. Xavier) and Jake Morris (Solon).
“We returned everybody from last year, have all five or six guys back,” Drew Heitland said. “There are so many Cedar Rapids kids, so we’ve been with each other since high school, basically. We played against each other, now we’re playing with each other. It helps when you’ve got your whole O-line and D-line back. It’s just a battle every day in practice. Hopefully that shows in the games.”
Coe plays next week at Nebraska Wesleyan.
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