116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Robbie Peters sent out a few texts this week.
He wanted to wish some of the players from his hometown good luck. Peters will have a different message for his fellow Mount Vernon alumni and Cornell offensive starters Chris Chapman and Mickey Hines on Saturday.
'I will probably do a little trash talking,” Coe's senior defensive end said. 'It will all be in good fun. It will be a good challenge.”
Peters is connected to both sides of the longest football rivalry west of the Mississippi River, which started in 1891. Peters will look to retain bragging rights against his hometown college when Coe hosts Cornell for the 127th meeting at Clark Field.
Peters was an all-state defensive lineman for Mount Vernon High School in 2013 before coming to Coe. He has not lost in this series, helping Coe take a 71-51-4 edge and winning the last 17 meetings. Peters will serve as a team captain Saturday.
The game remains a special one on the schedule, including last year's 63-6 victory at Ash Park.
'It means a lot, especially when you're playing at Cornell,” Peters said. 'You see a lot of people from your hometown at the game. … I had some hecklers.”
It was good-natured ribbing, though. Peters knows many of the Rams' players and coaches. He is still on good terms with those hometown folks, including Cornell's starting lineman Chapman and Hines.
'At the same time, I love Coe,” said Peters, whose dad, Joe Peters, is the defensive line coach. 'My dad coaches and went to Coe. I have that connection.”
He added, 'I love to beat Cornell.”
Coe Coach Tyler Staker remembered recruiting Peters. Upper Iowa and Coe were frontrunners, but many factors favored Coe. In addition to his dad being an assistant and former Kohawk, Peters' grandmother and uncle attended Coe. Peters had the chance to stay in the area, allowing him to remain active at his church, be near family and continue his track and field career as a thrower.
'One of the things it took to sell on Coe was being able to be a two-sport athlete,” Staker said. 'He's very family oriented. He's very involved in church.
'All those factored into him becoming a Kohawk.”
Peters said he loved the coaching staff, including Staker and his father, Steve, who was the previous head coach, and former defensive coordinator Larry Atwater. The school was a good fit academically, allowing him to pursue a double major in History and Political Science.
'It felt like a family,” said Peters, who aspires to attend law school. 'That's one of the things we pride ourselves on as a team.”
Staker was excited to get Peters to campus and it didn't take long for him to get on the field. Unfortunately, injuries allowed him to see playing time his freshman season, but it was a vital learning experience. Once he got the chance, Peters was determined to make the most of the chance and keep his spot as a starter.
'We knew what we were getting on and off the field,” Staker said. 'He's the All-American boy. He's intelligent and well-mannered.
'He held his own. He's gotten better.”
The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder has blossomed into a run stopper and led the Iowa Conference in sacks last season. He has the speed for pass rush off the edge and causes fits for tackles and tight ends to block on runs.
'He has the combination of strength and speed,” Staker said. 'He's really tough against the run.”
Staker praised Peters for snagging interceptions against Wartburg and in a scrimmage, returning both for touchdowns.
'His athleticism is a strength,” Staker said. 'That just doesn't happen unless you're a talented defensive end. He does a lot for us.”
The manner the first-team all-IIAC pick conducts business has won over Staker, calling Peters' approach 'old-school” with an unyielding motor in practice and competition. He sets a good example for younger players.
'He's a great leader,” Staker said. 'He does it the right way. He's a great role model for our players. His hard work has paid off.”
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