Small College Sports

Terrence Hall: Leader of Coe's defense, mentor of Cedar Rapids kids

Kohawks host Loras on Senior Day

Coe's Terrence Hall (30) closes in on Augustana quarterback Alek Jacobs during a home game earlier this season. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Coe's Terrence Hall (30) closes in on Augustana quarterback Alek Jacobs during a home game earlier this season. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Coe’s Terrence Hall has embraced his leadership role.

The senior captain also understands his ability to impact the Coe defense can serve an even greater role in the community. In addition to dedicating his time to becoming one of the Kohawks’ top tacklers, Hall has devoted his time to working with youth.

“The impact you make on the field goes hand-in-hand with the impact you make on the community,” Hall said. “It translates into things we do off the field, like mentoring or America Reads and things like that. We take for granted how much younger kids or other people in the community look up to us.”

When Hall laces up his cleats, slides on his shoulder pads and jersey and straps on his helmet to take Clark Field for the final time Saturday, he’ll have a group of youngsters watching as his guests for the annual Senior Day game against Loras, beginning at 1 p.m.

Both teams are 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the American Rivers Conference. Hall hasn’t given much thought to his last home game, but is excited to give about 10 youths a chance to attend a college football game.

“We’re going to have a small group of some of the kids and mentors come out and watch me play,” Hall said. “But, also, a lot of them don’t get to go to college football games at all or football games in general, because either their parents can’t afford them or have anybody to take them.”

Hall said he loves working and interacting with kids, including two boys named Josiah and Brayton through Children of Promise organization. He mentors young people whose fathers are incarcerated or not present in their lives. He spends times with them, doing everything from activities to even answering tough questions that arise from daily life.

Hall grew up in a similar situation raised by his mother, Tequila Smith, and working a full-time job to help provide for the family. He worked 40-50 hours a week outside of football, balancing the rigors of a full-time student and offseason training.

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“I’m proud with his involvement in the community,” Coe Coach Tyler Staker said. “He’s very involved in the community. He understands he has the ability to make a difference in young people’s lives and he has done that. I’m very proud of him for that.”

Hall has been a pillar of the Kohawk defense the last three seasons. The former Cedar Rapids Kennedy prep is coming off a career-best performance, helping Coe upset conference co-leader Central, 27-24, in overtime.

Hall recorded a career-high 17 tackles, including 11 solo stops, 1 1/2 tackles for loss and assisted on a sack. The senior linebacker also forced a fumble the Kohawks converted into a key first-half field goal. The effort garnered his first A-R-C Defensive Player of the Week honor and a spot on the D3football.com National Team of the Week.

The performance was his seventh with double-digit tackles in a contest. He has collected nine in five other games for Coe.

“I couldn’t have done that last week, or any other week, without the help of my teammates,” said Hall, who broke his personal best of 15 set Oct. 6 at Simpson. “That is something I just don’t tend to think about. Last week was last week. That is done. This is a new week. I’m focused on my job this week and what do I have to do in order to help my team get the victory.”

Hall saw limited action as a freshman, but began to make his presence felt the following season when the Kohawks went 11-1 and reached the second round of the postseason. He played in all 12 games, getting a start in the final playoff game at St. Thomas and taking advantage of the opportunity with 11 tackles to finish with 60, which tied for third on the team that year.

He learned what was needed to become a defensive leader and embraced that role.

“I think it’s important to lead by example,” Hall said. “I had mentors and leaders like Drew Heitland and Robbie Peters in the past. I’ve taken some of the things that they did, watching our team from the 2016 season.

“It started in the summer camp and watching what those guys did has been instilled in me.”

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Hall continued to be a stalwart defender, sitting second with 44 solo tackles last season and third with 77 stops overall. This season, he has a team-high 78 tackles, which also puts him in 12th place on Coe’s career list with 219, according to the A-R-C.

“He has been a great leader for our defense,” Staker said. “He’s somebody who has worked extremely hard to get where he’s at today and has overcome a lot in life and on the football field.

“He’s always been a competitor. He’s always come out to practice and worked hard, but this year has taken more of a leadership role and brought those guys up with him.”

Hall’s presence on the field and in the locker room will be missed. Staker doesn’t want to look ahead, preferring to enjoy the rest of the season with Hall.

“Fortunately, we have him for two more games, so I don’t want to think about it right now,” Staker said. “He’s going to leave some big shoes to fill with what he does on the field and from a leadership role. It will be tough to replace Terrence.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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