CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - It was another wild one at Clark Field on Saturday, as the Coe College football team beat Central College 33-30 on Homecoming.
The Kohawks were forced to punt on the opening drive of the game. On the second play of the game for the Dutch, Kohawk defensive back Dylan Stepleton (Tipton, Iowa/Wilton) was ejected for targeting. By rule, Stepleton was required to sit out the rest of the first half until the play could be reviewed at halftime. The call was reversed at the half, allowing Stepleton to return for the final half. Central capitalized on the opening drive, as Riley Gray found Kyle Gritsch for a two-yard touchdown pass with 8:53 to play in the first quarter.
On the opening drive of the second quarter, Central added points on a 27-yard field goal by Aaron Marcellus with 12:32 to play in the first half for a 10-0 lead. Coe didn't waste any time getting on the scoreboard after trailing by double digits. Three plays later,Trevor Heitland (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) busted the longest run of his career on third-and-two, scoring from 82-yards out. The point after attempted was blocked, leaving Central with a 10-6 lead with 11:19 left in the first half.
Coe forced a Central punt and quickly went to work again. This time on third-and-two it was Gavin Glenn (Adel, Iowa/ADM) with the longest run of his career, as he raced 40 yards to the Dutch 17-yard line. Coe wasn't able to get into the end zone, but Brandon Abbas(Aplington, Iowa/Aplington Parkersburg) connected on a 27-yard field goal with 5:52 left in the half to cut the Central lead to 10-9. After forcing another Dutch punt, the Kohawks put together another scoring drive late in the half. The Kohawks once again faced third-and-two, as Glenn found Tyler Gunderson (Marion, Iowa/Marion) for a 27-yard reception. Four plays later, Glenn foundDemetrius Harper (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The kick from Abbas gave Coe a 16-10 lead with 1:25 to play in the half. Central moved the ball into Kohawk territory to end the half, but back-to-back sacks by Robbie Peters(Mount Vernon, Iowa/Mount Vernon) ended the Dutch scoring threat.
Central opened the second half with a quick drive, as the Dutch regained the lead on a two-yard rushing touchdown by Fitzgerald with 10:48 to play in the quarter. Coe was forced to punt on its first drive of the second half, but quickly got the ball back on the first play of the Dutch drive. Andrew Netolicky (Swisher, Iowa/Prairie) sacked Nate Boland, forcing a fumble that Ryan Leonard (Center Junction, Iowa/Midland) recovered at the Central 19 yard line. Heitland carried the ball on three-straight plays, scoring on the third from 11 yards out. The Abbas kick gave Coe a 23-17 lead with 5:14 to play in the third quarter.
The Dutch took the lead back late in the third quarter, as Grady found Mitchell Boerm for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 1:34 to play in the quarter. The kick by Marcellus gave Central a 24-23 lead. Following another Coe punt, the Kohawks got the ball back after another Dutch fumble. Gray rushed up the middle before being stopped by Terrence Hall (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy), who popped the ball out. Tait Simpson (Lisbon, Iowa/Lisbon) recovered for the Kohawks at the Dutch 31 yard line.
Coe was able to capitalize on the turnover on the leg of Abbas. With 13:51 to play, Abbas connected on a career-long 34-yard field goal, as Coe took a 26-24 lead. With 6:52 to play, the Dutch took the lead back on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Gray to Markham. The two point conversion failed, leaving the Dutch with a 30-26 lead. The Kohawks answered by putting together their longest drive of the afternoon on 12 plays. Coe converted two third downs on the drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Glenn with 1:26 to play. Abbas gave Coe a 33-30 lead with the point after attempt.
Central quickly moved the ball down the field, helped in large part by back-to-back passes of 21 and 22 yards early in the drive. Facing third-and-two from the Coe five-yard line, Grady's pass was incomplete to Sam Markham in the back of the end zone. With :05 left, Marcellus lined up for a 22-yard field goal that would have sent the game to overtime. Stepleton came off the edge and blocked the kick, sending the Kohawks into celebration mode before taking a knee on the final play.
Coe held Central to just 91 yards on the ground, while the Kohawks rushed for 267 yards on the league's top rush defense entering the day. Central threw for 330 yards, while Coe had 232 yards passing. Central totaled 421 yards on 92 plays, while Coe had 499 on 73 plays. The Dutch were 10-of-21 on third downs and 3-of-4 on fourth downs, while Coe was 8-of-16 on third downs and 0-for-1 on fourth down.
Heitland rushed for a career-high 210 yards on 24 carries, giving him back-to-back games with over 200 yards. Glenn also had a career-high on the ground with 39 yards. Glenn was 22-of-30 for 232 yards passing, tying a career-high for completions. Colton Martin (Alburnett, Iowa/Alburnett) caught six passes for 42 yards, while Heitland caught five balls for 57 yards. Heitland moved into seventh in school history with 1,691 receiving yards.Mitchell Malloy (Riverside, Ill./Riverside-Brookfield) caught a career-high five passes for 46 yards.
Nick Elsbury (Byron, Ill./Byron) led the Kohawk defense with a career-high 11 tackles, including 10 solos. Netolicky also had a career-high in tackles with 10, while also recording one and a half sacks and two tackles for loss. Stepleton had nine solo tackles, while Peters had a career-high nine tackles. Peters also had two and a half sacks and four tackles for loss.
The Kohawks (6-0, 4-0 IIAC) return to action on Saturday, as they travel to Dubuque (6-0, 4-0 IIAC). Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Dubuque. The Kohawks and Spartans are the last two unbeaten teams in the Iowa Conference. A link for live video and stats will be available at CoeAthletics.com.