Kohawks escape Storm for first win in IIAC opener

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Simpson put the first points on the scoreboard on the opening drive of the game. With 10:59 to play in the opening quarter, James Gale punched a 38-yard field goal through the uprights to cap an eight-play 22-yard drive that was aided by a 42-yard kickoff return by Brad Vogel to start the game.

Facing third and 10 on their first possession, the Kohawks got a big play from senior quarterback Brad Boyle (New Sharon, Iowa/North Mahaska) as he found junior Jared Kuehner (Center Point, Iowa/Center Point-Urbana) for a gain of 28-yards to the Simpson 32-yard line. On the next play, senior Jacob Frederick (Waterloo, Iowa/Columbus) rushed for seven yards, but fumbled the ball when hit by Simpson's Ted Haag, with Simpson's Ty Larsen recovering on the 25 yard line.

The Storm marched down the field, converting three third-downs, but were stopped short on third-and-nine, With :45 left in the opening quarter, Gale punched his second field goal through, this time from 31-yards, giving Simpson a 6-0 lead. Coe would run two more plays to end the first quarter, having touched the ball on offense for just 2:03 of the quarter.

Coe was forced into a three-and-out on the first possession of the second quarter, but a 47-yard punt by Wes Anderson (Newhall, Iowa/Benton Community) pinned the Storm at their own six yard line. Simpson couldn't move the ball outside the 17 yard line, resulting in a 40-yard punt by Cameron Oviatt that Coe's Keaton Juergens (Elkader, Iowa/Central Elkader) returned 45 yards to the one yard line. Just one play later, Boyle plunged in for the Kohawks first touchdown and first lead of the game.

Simpson didn't let the Coe lead stand for long, as they completed a six-play 24-yard drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak from Taylor Nelson. The drive was set up by another big kick return from Vogel, this one going for 60 yards.

With 3:06 to play in the opening half, Coe took over for the its final drive of the half. Starting at the 50-yard line, Boyle completed back-to-back passes to senior Nick Ratchford (Waterloo, Iowa/Columbus) to put the ball at the Storm 30 yard line. Facing third-and-eight, Boyle completed a 15-yard pass to Ratchford at the nine-yard line. Following a five-yard run by Frederick, Boyle carried the ball on back-to-back plays for the touchdown. The score gave the Kohawks a 14-13 lead at the break.

Coe would start the second half with the ball and score on its first possession. The Kohawks never faced a third down on the drive and ended it with a 35-yard touchdown run from sophomore Carvin Thompson (Dallas, Texas/Life Charter), the first score of his collegiate career. The point after attempt was blocked, leaving Coe with a 20-13 lead with 13:15 to play in the third quarter.

After a false start on the Storm, Nelson completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Rogers to tie the game at 20 with 12:58 left in the quarter. Boyle took over on the Kohawks second possession of the half. After a seven yard run by Boyle, he threw a 22-yard pass to Ratchford. Boyle then rushed three-straight times for a first down before Thompson went 14-yards off the left side to move the ball to the Simpson 14 yard line. Facing third-and-15, Boyle threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Juergens, the first touchdown reception of his career with 8:40 left in the quarter.

Once again, the Storm wouldn't let the one touchdown lead hold for long. Simpson went 77 yards on 11 plays to get back in the game on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Rogers, but Simpson missed the point after attempt, leaving Coe with a 27-26 lead with 3:59 left in the third quarter.

On its first possession of the fourth quarter, Boyle scored for the third time in the game, this one coming from eight-yards out to give Coe a 34-26 lead with 7:32 to play. Coe's drive started at its own seven yard line and covered 93-yards in just 3:51. After an 11-yard rush by Thompson, Boyle went 38 yards up the middle to set up his own score.

After a pair of punts, Simpson would have one more shot to tie the game, but a strong defensive effort led to three sacks and an interception by senior Austin Lloyd (Center Point, Iowa/Center Point-Urbana) sealed the Kohawk win.

The Kohawks finished with 380 yards of offense on 56 plays, while the Storm had 366 yards on 70 plays. Both teams scored on all eight appearances in the red zone, but Simpson was held to two field goals while the Kohawks had four touchdowns.

Thompson finished with a career-high 107 yards on 15 carries. Boyle tied a career-high with his sixth three rushing touchdown day. He also had 85 yards on the ground on 16 carries. Through the air, Boyle was 13-of-17 for 168 yards. Ratchford had a team-high five receptions for 65 yards. Kuehner and Juergens added three receptions each, with Kuehner having 46 yards and Juergens finishing with a career-high 38.

On the opening drive, Boyle passed Joe Brannen '05 for the career lead in passing yards with 6,565. He also moved into third place behind Carey Bender '95 and Fred Jackson '03 with his 38th rushing touchdown and joined Brannen as the only two players in school history to throw over 800 passes.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior Frank Weymiller (New Albin, Iowa/Waukon) broke Coe's single-game tackles for loss record and moved into first on the career sacks list. He finished with 13 tackles, including 10 solos (seventh most in school history), four sacks and six tackles for loss. His four sacks fall one shy of the school record. As a team, the Kohawks six sacks were the seventh most in school history.

Senior Jacob Lower (Volga, Iowa/Central Elkader) had nine tackles, including one for a loss. Seniors Jacob Breitbach (Panora, Iowa/Panorama) and Ben Carr (Clinton, Iowa/Prince of Peace) added seven tackles apiece. Carr also had one and a half sacks and two tackles for loss.

The Kohawks will return to action on Saturday, as they travel to 13th-ranked Wartburg. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Waverly.

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