116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CENTER POINT — Rarely does a gain of zero yards elicit a cheer from the crowd. Or a touchdown for that matter.
Both happened in Center Point during Week 1, and what's more, it all occurred on one punt.
It's a play — and a game — the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikings would like to forget, as the Center Point-Urbana Stormin' Pointers rolled to a 37-7 win Friday.
'I saw the ball go straight up in the air,' Maverick Gatrost said. 'I knew that punts are live if they don't down it. I saw it roll back into the end zone and I hopped on it.'
Vinton-Shellsburg lined up to punt from its own 1-yard line with time dwindling in the third quarter. The ball boomed off the punter's foot, landed on the Vikings' 8-yard line and the back spin carried it into the end zone.
Gatrost landed on it for a touchdown.
'First punt return of my career,' said Gatrost, a junior. 'It was a little weird.'
Gatrost can also kick the ball with great success. He pinned the Vikings inside their own 5-yard line on three occasions.
'We had another kicker out-of-town this weekend,' CPU Coach Dan Burke said. 'So we asked Maverick a week ago if he could punt.
'He said 'I'll try it', and we knew he could do it, he's very athletic.'
So it went for the Stormin' Pointers.
CPU raced out to a 20-0 lead with 11:55 to play in the second quarter. A pair of Mitchell McCauley 1-yard runs and a Caleb Andrews 4-yard scramble had CPU rolling. Then, penalties and a 76-yard touchdown catch and run by the Vikings Justin Bartz caught up with CPU.
'Obviously we had some mistakes too,' Burke said. 'But these guys had each other's back tonight.'
Following the Gatrost punt return, the Stormin' Pointers knew they had the momentum.
'We all got hyped up for that, and just never stopped,' said Alex Wade, who led CPU with 21 carries for 118 yards and a touchdown.