116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — And now a two-game gauntlet.
Coe’s football team opened American Rivers Conference play Saturday afternoon with a 42-22 win over Simpson at Clark Field. It was a win more convincing than the final score.
Up now is a game next week at Wartburg. After a bye week, it’s a home encounter against NCAA Division III 16th-ranked Central.
Those two almost always are serious threats to win the ARC. It seems like Coe almost always has to play them back to back.
“It’s been that way since when?” asked Coe Coach Tyler Staker. “We know what’s ahead of us, and that we’ve got to play good football. We’ve got to have a good week of practice and prepare our guys well. I’m confident the coaches will do that, I’m confident that our players will prepare well, and that we will be ready to go on Saturday.”
A little research shows this will be the fifth consecutive season Coe will have played Wartburg and Central consecutively. This will be the ninth time in the 2000s that has happened.
Of course, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best. By the way, conference schedules are pretty much random, Staker said, though there is a formula that’s followed (he called it a matrix) over a certain number of years.
“We know what we’re getting into,” said Coe sophomore quarterback Carter Maske.
“We’re excited for it, we accept the challenge,” said sophomore linebacker Jay Oostendorp, a Cedar Rapids Kennedy grad. “We’ll be ready to go.”
Coe (3-0) scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and added a pair more in the third to blow this one open. It was a balanced attack offensively, with the Kohawks rushing for 288 yards and passing for 256.
Running back Alphonso Soko had 134 yards rushing and three TDs. Receiver Dominic Shepardson caught eight passes from Maske.
“We started out real slow, and that’s never good,” said Maske, who completed 18 of 34 passes for 228 yards. “We need to fix that, because that’s been happening the last three weeks. We start out slow, then the second quarter, we pick it up. That’s what we did today. The second quarter, we really exploded. I thought we were clicking everywhere the second and third quarters. We had some momentum. But we’ve just got to learn to finish and start the game out strong.”
Coe’s defense gave up 369 yards passing to Simpson (0-3), repeatedly beaten over the middle in the first half on throws over the linebackers and corners and in front of the safeties in a zone defense. Joe McNally had eight catches for 163 yards and a score for the Storm.
Simpson has given up 160 points in its three games, including an 84-6 loss to top-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor in the opener.
“We are not where we need to be,” Staker said, when asked to assess his team. “When I look at us, and I evaluate us, and what we are capable of doing, more so than who we are playing, we are not where we need to be, yet. We’re working to get there. But we’ve still got some work to do.”
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