116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Carter Maske had the reins of Coe’s offense in his hands.
Then, he watched as they slipped from his fingers in the midst of a three-way competition at quarterback.
Maske bided his time and remained committed to be the Kohawks’ starter. He earned another chance two weeks ago and hasn’t loosened his grip.
The junior signal caller has helped Coe put up 104 points in two wins in as many weeks against Simpson and Luther. Maske will get the nod again Saturday when the Kohawks host Dubuque in an American Rivers Conference game at Clark Field, starting at 1 p.m.
“I just kept telling myself to be patient,” Maske said. “I knew if I kept doing what I was doing, practicing hard, focusing and playing to my potential in practice this opportunity was going to come. I didn’t know when. I was just ready for it whenever it would arise. It did.”
The former Waterloo West prep started the first five games last season. Teammates Nick Casey and Matt Walton stepped in before Maske returned to the lineup and passed for 186 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-10 victory over the Storm.
“It’s been fun getting out there and back to playing,” Maske said. “I had a little while where I wasn’t. I was just really looking forward to it.”
Competitors want to play and Maske was not content as a reserve. He wanted to be on the field and contribute. Maske wanted to bring the quarterback carousel to a stop with him at the controls. The hardest part was reducing the pressure of his own high expectations.
“Obviously, I want to stay the guy,” Maske said. “I kept telling myself to relax. The looser I play, the better.
“I felt like I proved my way back. Now, I’m here and I can take a deep breath, knowing they have confidence in me. I can go out there and just play opposed to holding my breath every time I go to throw.”
Coe Coach Tyler Staker said he considered evaluation, performance, live reps and game situations with Maske taking a step forward in his preparation and play in practice. Staker said he felt Maske provided a spark and has demonstrated a better understanding of reads and coverages.
“He’s doing those things really well for us,” Staker said. “He’s continuing to grow. He plays confident and understands the offense for us. He’s definitely not a stranger to this spot.”
The encore performance resulted in 192 yards and four TDs last week in a 56-point outburst at Luther. One of Maske’s strengths is being able to stretch the field, throwing the ball deep.
“He’s been able to connect on some of those deep passes, another thing we were needing to take the top off the coverage,” Staker said. “He gives us some explosive plays in the pass game.
“He’s done a good job spreading it around, getting guys touches and catches in the moments we need a big play. He’s been able to step up and hit those receivers and they’ve come up with some big-time catches.”
Staker has had the inevitable task of deciding on a starter with three capable QBs. Maske displayed maturity and mental toughness handling the situation. Staker praised him for staying the course and being a good teammate.
“He didn’t let that impact his performance or mindset about the position or preparation,” Staker said. “I’m real proud of him. It’s not an easy thing to go through as a player. When you get your opportunity again, it’s that much sweeter.”