WHEATON, Ill. - The 24th-ranked Wheaton Thunder exploded for 31 first half points before holding off a second half rally from Coe. The Kohawks scored 20-straight second half points, but fell 36-28 to Wheaton.
It was all Wheaton in the first half. The Thunder scored 31-straight points and looked to be on cruise control entering the halftime break. Wheaton scored on a field goal, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. The Kohawks put the brakes on the Thunder in the second half, scoring the first 20 points of the second half.
With 4:33 to play in the third quarter, Coe scored its first points of the season on a four-yard touchdown run by Sam Lahr (Manchester, Iowa/West Delaware). The point-after attempt by Brandon Abbas (Aplington, Iowa/Aplington Parkersburg) made it 31-7. Lahr struck again early in the fourth quarter, this time on a 23-yard pass from Josh Rekers (Dike, Iowa/Dike-New Hartford) with 12:46 to play in the game.
Coe went back to the air just a few minutes later, as Rekers found Trevor Heitland (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 8:28 to play. The point-after attempt was blocked and returned for two points by Wheaton, as the Thunder took a 33-20 lead. Wheaton ate up the clock on its next possession, ending in a 25-yard field goal by Cote that gave the Thunder a 36-20 lead with 2:34 to play. Coe went to the air once again, as Rekers found Nicholas Lenstra for a four-yard touchdown pass with :39 to play. Rekers then threw a two-point conversion to Dan Kopp (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere), cutting the lead to 36-28. Coe went for the onside kick, but it was recovered by Wheaton to end the game.
Wheaton held a 483 to 410 advantage in total yards. Coe rushed for 93, while throwing for 317. The Thunder rushed for 145 and threw for 338. The Thunder held a 35:33 to 24:27 advantage in time of possession, including having the ball for 19:39 of the first half. Coe was 5-of-11 on third downs, while Wheaton was 14-of-20.
Rekers was 31-of-45 for 317 yards. The 31 completions are the second most in school history, while it was a career-high in yards. It was the third three touchdown performance of his career. In the second half, Rekers was 26-of-31 for 281 yards.
Lahr rushed for 71 yards on a career-high 15 carries. Lahr also led the Kohawks with seven receptions for 77 yards, while Heitland had five catches for 58 yards. Dominik Lensing (Calmar, Iowa/South Winneshiek), Davin Roach (Guffey, Colo./Cripple Creek Victor) and Elijah Phillips (Miami, Fla./Southridge) each had four receptions. Lensing had 64 yards receiving, while Roach and Phillips had 33 and 24 respectively. It was a career-high in receptions for Lahr, Heitland, Lensing and Roach.
Mitchell Berendes (Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead) led the defense with a game-high 15 tackles, including one for a loss. Gaetano Tarantino had 11, while Brad Siebel (Eagle Center, Iowa/Union) and Dylan Stepleton (Tipton, Iowa/Wilton) had eight tackles apiece. It was a career-high for Tarantino and Siebel.
The Kohawks (0-1) return to action next Saturday, as they face longtime rival Cornell in the Oldest Football Rivalry West of the Mississippi River. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Mount Vernon. It is the season opener for the Rams. A link for live video and live stats can be found on the home page of CoeAthletics.com.