CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - For the fifth time in school history, the Coe College football team has won the Iowa Conference Championship. Coe locked up the title, and a NCAA Division III playoff berth, with a 48-7 win over Buena Vista on Saturday.
The Kohawks made big plays early in the game on Saturday, as Dylan Stepleton (Tipton, Iowa/Wilton) intercepted a Cole Miller pass on the second play of the game. It was the eighth interception of the year for Stepleton, the most by any player at any NCAA (FBS, FCS, II & III) school. Four plays later, Gavin Glenn (Adel, Iowa/ADM) found Trevor Heitland (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) for a nine-yard touchdown pass. The point-after attempt by Brandon Abbas (Aplington, Iowa/Aplington Parkersburg) gave Coe a 7-0 lead with 13:36 to play in the first half.
Coe forced a three-and-out on the next Beaver possession. This time the Kohawks went 43 yards, but came up short of the end zone. Abbas connected on a 28-yard field goal with 8:06 to play in the quarter, giving Coe a 10-0 lead. The field goal was the 11th of the year for Abbas, setting a new school record. The Kohawks would add a second field goal by Abbas on the next drive, as he connected from 26-yards out with 2:09 left in the opening quarter. The kick gave Coe a 13-0 lead.
On the next Beaver possession, Miller was intercepted again, this time by Jarred Hodge (Ormond Beach, Fla./Mainland). Coe needed just three plays to go 27 yards, as Glenn found Brandon Roseberry (Center Point, Iowa/Center Point-Urbana) for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The kick by Abbas gave Coe a 20-0 lead with 1:08 left in the opening quarter. Coe added another touchdown on its final possession of the half. The Kohawks went 86 yards on 12 plays, as Roseberry scored from 11-yards out. An Abbas kick gave Coe a 27-0 lead with 3:39 to play in the half.
The Kohawks started the scoring in the second half on the opening possession. Glenn found Demetrius Harper (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) for a 37-yard touchdown pass with 12:44 to play in the third quarter. The Abbas kick gave Coe a 34-0 lead. After another three-and-out by the Beavers, Coe went 70 yards on 11 plays. Roseberry had six carries on the drive, capped off by a five-yard touchdown run with 5:28 to play in the third. Abbas gave Coe a 41-0 lead on the point-after attempt. Coe's final points came in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, as Marshall Nieland (Woodward, Iowa/Woodward-Granger) blocked a punt that Kentrel Smith(Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Abbas gave Coe a 48-0 lead with the kick, as he moved into third in school history with 47 point-after makes this year. Buena Vista scored its lone touchdown on the ensuing drive, as Jalen Henningsen rushed off the right side for a one-yard touchdown with 10:22 to play.
Coe had 35 first downs, while the Beavers had 15. The Kohawks had a 268 to 141 advantage on the ground, while holding a 275 to 132 advantage in the air. Coe had 543 yards on 87 plays, while the Beavers had 273 yards on 56 plays. The Kohawks were 7-of-12 on third downs, while the Beavers were 3-of-11.
Roseberry rushed for a career-high 113 yards on 17 carries. Heitland had 13 carries for 84 yards, while Clevon Catchings (Chicago, Ill./Chicago Bulls College Prep) had 10 carries for 39 yards. Heitland moved into sixth on the single-season rushing list with 1,381 yards. Glenn was 27-of-35 passing for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Glenn set a new career-high in completions, while becoming the 11th player in school history with over 200 completions in a season. Glenn is now tied for fifth in school history with 21 touchdown passes on the year. Heitland caught seven passes for 52 yards, while Tyler Gunderson (Marion, Iowa/Marion) caught a career-high five balls for 32 yards. Heitland moved into third in school history with 139 career receptions. Harper had four receptions for 82 yards, with Seth Williams (Kahoka, Mo./Clark County) hauling in four passes for 44 yards.
Nieland led the Kohawks with a career-high eight tackles. Stepleton, Terrence Hall (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy), Drew Heitland (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy), Scott Michalek (Victor, Iowa/HLV), Mason Van Gorp (Pella, Iowa/Pella) and Daniel Vega (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Xavier) each had four tackles, a new career-high for Michalek. D. Heitland and Michalek each had a sack, while Michalek had 2.5 tackles for loss. Stepleton moved into a tie for fourth in school history with his 13th career interception and tied for third in single-season school history with eight.
The 17th-ranked Kohawks (9-0, 7-0 IIAC) will have next week off before wrapping up the regular season on Nov. 12 at Simpson. Saturday's victory also clinched an NCAA Division III Playoff berth for the Kohawks, the first by any team in the nation this year. The playoffs begin Nov. 19. Kickoff for Coe's game at Simpson is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Indianola. A link to live video and stats will be available at CoeAthletics.com.