21st-ranked Kohawks escape Monmouth in thrilling season opener

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Kickoff was pushed back to 2:15 p.m. from 1 p.m., as one of Coe's busses broke down en route to the game. Coe gained a first down on the first play of the game, but was forced to punt four plays later. The Kohawk defense held the Fighting Scots to two yards on their first possession, as the Kohawks took over at their own 39-yard line after the punt.

The Kohawk offense started clicking on the second possession, as they went 50 yards on 15 plays in just over five minutes. Coe moved the ball inside the five-yard line, but a false start penalty and an incomplete pass forced the Kohawks to kick a field goal, as senior Wes Anderson (Newhall, Iowa/Benton Community) connected from 28-yards out with 7:02 to play in the opening quarter.

Monmouth again went three-and-out on their second possession, but the Kohawks threw an interception at the Monmouth 26-yard line. Facing second-and-three at their own 43-yard line, Brik Wedekind found Austin Peterson for an eight-yard gain. On the next play, Wedekind hooked up with C.J. Shields for a 49-yard strike, as the Fighting Scots went up 7-3 with 3:17 to play in the first quarter.

Coe went back to work on their next possession. The Kohawks faced a third-and-five at their own 30-yard line when sophomore Mark Atwater (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Linn-Mar) found senior Carvin Thompson (Dallas, Texas/Life Charter) for a 47-yard gain to the Monmouth 23-yard line. Three plays later, on third-and-five once again, Atwater found juniorAlex Christenson (Oskaloosa, Iowa/Oskaloosa) for an 18-yard touchdown, giving Coe a 10-7 lead with 1:52 to play in the first quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, Coe extended its first half lead. On second-and-15 from the Monmouth 39, Atwater threw a 31-yard pass to sophomore Elijah Phillips (Miami, Fla./Southridge). On the next play, senior Gage Mohs (Fredericksburg, Iowa/Sumner-Fredericksburg) plowed eight-yards for a touchdown, giving Coe a 17-7 lead with 7:07 to play in the first half. Coe ended the first half with a  16 play, 54-yard drive that took the final 5:32 off the clock, but Anderson's 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

Monmouth started the second half with a big drive. Facing fourth-and-two at the Kohawk 39-yard line, Wedekind found Cole Krynicki for a 38-yard gain off a tipped pass down to the one-yard line. On the next play, Wedekind plunged in from a yard out. Senior Mitch Montgomery (Lisbon, Iowa/Lisbon) blocked the extra point attempt, with senior Jordan Atwater (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Linn-Mar) recovering it and returning to to the 25-yard line before being pushed out of bounds.

Following a 32-yard kick return from senior Antoine Allen-Jackson (Aurora, Ill./Oswego East), Coe went 50-yards on nine plays, but again wasn't able to put the ball in the end zone from inside the five-yard line. Anderson came on for a 20-yard field goal with 8:47 to play in the third quarter, as Coe went back up by a touchdown at 20-13.

Two plays later, senior Dylan Youel (Traer, Iowa/North Tama) intercepted Wedekind at the Monmouth 17-yard line, returning it four yards. Back-to-back runs of three yards by Mohs and Thompson moved the ball to the seven yard line. On third-and-four, the Kohawks were called for intentional grounding. The penalty led to Anderson's fourth field goal attempt of the day, as he connected from 34-yards out with 6:40 to play in the third quarter, giving the Kohawks a 23-13 lead. 

The Fighting Scots cut the lead to one possession on their next drive. With 3:06 to play in the third quarter, Ace Henricks connected on a 29-yard field goal, capping a 12 play, 62-yard drive for Monmouth. Three plays later, M. Atwater was intercepted at the Kohawk 40-yard line. Monmouth was forced to punt after a three-and-out, as Coe took over at it's own 18-yard line. Coe crossed the 50-yard line, but was forced to punt with 12:27 to play in the game.

Monmouth moved right down the field, going 77-yards on 15 plays in 5:17. Trey Yocum scored from three-yards out with 7:10 to play, but Henricks kick sailed wide right, leaving the Kohawks with a 23-22 lead.

Coe once again moved into Monmouth territory, but was forced to punt from the Monmouth 45-yard line. SeniorChase Cooling's (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Xavier) punt bounced into the end zone for a touchback. Starting at their own 20-yard line, the Fighting Scots moved into Kohawk territory, thanks to a 22-yard pass from Wedekind to Peterson on third-and-six. On the next play, Montgomery intercepted a Wedekind pass at the Kohawk 42-yard line. Back-to-back rushes by Thompson of nine and four yards gave the Kohawks a first down, as they were able to take a knee on the next three plays to seal the victory.

The Kohawk offense ran 91 plays, tied for the seventh most in school history. Coe tallied 451 yards of offense, while the Fighting Scots had 415. Coe outrushed Monmouth 213-143, while the Fighting Scots held a 272-238 advantage in the air.

Mohs led the Kohawks with a game-high 99 yards on 24 carries, including one touchdown. Thompson added 63 yards on 14 carries, while M. Atwater rushed eight times for 44 yards. Atwater finished 15-of-29 passing for 192 yards, including a touchdown and two interceptions. Sophomore Josh Rekers (Dike, Iowa/Dike-New Hartford) was 4-of-7 passing for 46 yards.

Eight different Kohawks caught a pass, as Phillips, Cooling, Mohs and senior Keaton Juergens (Elkader, Iowa/Central Elkader) had three receptions apiece. Thompson led the Kohawks with 55 yards, while Phillips added 46 yards.

On the defensive side, senior Logan Keehner (Gutenberg, Iowa/Clayton Ridge) had a game-high nine tackles. Youel, senior Diego Rodriquez (Miami, Fla./Archbishop Carroll), senior Caleb Ferring (Waukon, Iowa/Waukon) and junior Gaetano Tarantino (Valejo, Calif./St. Patrick-St. Vincent) all had seven tackles apiece. 

Coe (1-0) returns to the friendly confines of Clark Field for the home opener next Saturday. Coe will host Cornell in the oldest football rivalry West of the Mississippi River at 1 p.m. It will be the 123rd meeting between the long-time rivals. A link for live video and stats can be found on the front page of CoeAthletics.com.

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