116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON — It's a riddle, a puzzle, a Rubik's Cube that some lucky college football coach is going to solve.
What position is Jack Cochrane moving forward?
You can see the Mount Vernon senior as a wide receiver at the next level. Tight end is a possibility.
If you look at the other side of the ball, there's safety. He could put on enough weight to be a linebacker.
'I think they're all trying to figure out where he fits,' said Mount Vernon Coach Lance Pedersen, whose team plays Union in a Class 2A playoff semifinal Saturday night at 7:05 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. 'Someone will figure that out ... He's an easy kid to take a chance on.'
Everyone knows about the impact of lineman Tristan Wirfs. He's the Iowa recruit.
Quarterback Drew Adams has had another sensational season throwing the ball, with 27 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. But you could argue Cochrane's influence on this Mustangs team has been just as significant, if not more so.
Pedersen plays him at running back because he's one of his best athletes. Cochrane has 950 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns.
He is Mount Vernon's leading receiver, with 40 catches and another eight TDs. Mostly as a free safety, he leads MV in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks.
He also has four interceptions (second on the team) and leads in fumble recoveries (three). Kickoff and punt returns are on his duty list as well.
'I've served a lot of different roles, but it's all been necessary for our team to win,' the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Cochrane said. 'Everything is about whatever it takes, I guess. Sometimes it's a lot to take in. But sometimes I think it helps me stay fresh, you know? I'm not doing the same thing always. It keeps you fresh, keeps the game interesting for me.'
The whole whatever-it-takes-for-the-team thing isn't just talk, either. College coaches recruiting him ask him what position he wants to play, and he tells them whatever position is best for the program.
As Pedersen said, it's easy to take a chance on kids like him.
'I think I'm willing to do a lot of different things for the team,' Cochrane said. 'I haven't focused so much on what I want to do, it's all about what I can do for the team. Whether that's catching passes, blocking, running tackling, playing different positions on defense. I think it helps that I'm willing to do different things.'
Mount Vernon (9-2) lost its first two games to 3A Solon and West Delaware but has rebounded to get into the semifinals for the second straight year. Union (10-1) reversed a regular-season loss to North Fayette Valley to get to this point.
Both teams have athletes and high-powered offenses, so you're likely to see a busy scoreboard operator.
'Those first two games were tough,' Cochrane said. 'Obviously you want to win those two non-district games, but, in reality, they don't mean a whole lot as the season goes on. One thing we really pride ourselves on is coming and getting better each day. Each day at practice, each week playing a better game. That's one thing that's been a staple of our team. Just coming to work every day and getting better.'
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