116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — They're here to win.
But in many ways, this abbreviated spring football thing is a dress rehearsal for the fall. A sneak preview, if you want to look at it that way.
There's no conference championship on the line, no such thing as the Division III national spring playoffs.
'I'm looking to see how we improve week to week,' Coe Coach Tyler Staker said Saturday, after his team lost to Dubuque, 17-13, in a down-to-the-wire affair at Clark Field. 'It's a chance for us to evaluate our players. We get to see these guys in action, see how they compete when the lights are on. There is really no substitute for actually playing the game.
'You can practice all you want, put in as many situations as you can in practice. But until they are out here performing, it's really hard to see how they are going to respond.'
All in all, Coe responded well. It had four interceptions defensively and gave itself a chance to win late, despite a freshman quarterback and no discernible rushing attack.
The Kohawks had a first-and-goal from the Dubuque 8 with 1:12 left and a timeout in their pocket. But a high shotgun snap on first down caused a 3-yard loss, then Carter Maske, that aforementioned freshman, threw three straight incompletions as Dubuque held on.
'We did a good job until we got down here. We just didn't execute inside the 10,' Maske said. 'This is a lot to learn from. I hate losing, but it's a good experience, getting into a situation like this my first game out here. It's only up from here.'
A former Waterloo West prep, Maske completed 14 of 33 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, both to sophomore receiver Dominic Shepardson.
A 41-yard catch and run from Shepardson took Coe from its 36 to the Dubuque 23 with under two minutes left, then a pass interference penalty on the Spartans gave the Kohawks four cracks from inside the 10. Shepardson had eight catches in the game for 163 yards.
The first-down foible forced Coe to burn its final timeout. Maske rolled right on second and third downs, with diving attempts by receivers at the sideline coming up shy.
On fourth down, Maske rolled left, bought time and threw a pass to the left corner of the end zone to tight end Cooper Zeck that was broken up by Dubuque's Marshon Crowder.
'We wanted to give ourselves kind of a run-pass option there, so we got out on the edge,' Staker said. 'We had a chance there. Just a little wide to our receiver on a diving attempt. On the last play, I knew they were going to play soft, so we were just trying to get some guys out on a route, find a little space. It didn't quite work.'
Both of Dubuque's TDs came on pass plays from QB Jacob Keller to receiver Elliott Pipkin. The winner was with 9:08 left, when Keller rolled right on third-and-goal from the 5, threw across his body some but connected with Pipkin in the back of the end zone despite pretty good Coe coverage.
Pipkin had seven catches for 127 yards. Keller threw for 188 but was picked twice by Bridger Aucutt and once each by Jack Shaw and Eric Campie.
Dubuque outgained Coe by a 417-199 margin.
'That game had everything you would want, right?' Staker said. 'Back and forth, down to the wire, two-minute drive, an opportunity to win it. We just came up short.
'I was proud of our guys, the way they battled.'
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