CEDAR RAPIDS – Saturday ended with them beaten up and beaten, with a second straight loss and little to no hope of winning the Iowa Conference championship and going back to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Just rotten all around for the Coe Kohawks.
“This was a tough one for us,” Coe Coach Steve Staker said after a 41-38 double-overtime defeat to Simpson at Clark Field.
Taylor Nelson’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Brad Vogel on 3rd-and-8 was the winner, with every Storm player rushing to the left corner of the end zone to mob the senior wide receiver and celebrate. Vogel was lined up in the left slot, cut toward the sideline and then went up field, beating Coe’s coverage and receiving a perfectly thrown ball.
Wes Anderson’s 22-yard field goal on Coe’s double-OT possession had put it ahead, 38-35.
“It was a wheel route,” said Nelson, who accounted for all six Simpson touchdowns, three passing and three rushing. ”We had scored a touchdown on it earlier in the game, so we knew if we came back to it, it’d (work out) great. Coach believed in it, and we scored. So it’s awesome.”
A senior from West Des Moines Valley, Nelson ran for a 4-yard TD to open overtime. Coe countered with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Josh Rekers to tight end Chase Cooling, with the extra point tying it at 35-35.
“We battled all day,” said Nelson, who threw for 332 yards. ”They’re a great team. We just knew we had to stick together, and the game would come back to us … We just knew that if we kept doing what we were doing the whole game, we’d be able to capitalize there at the end.”
Coe lost standout defensive lineman Mitch Montgomery to a second-half knee injury and had starting linebacker Gaetano Tarantino miss time with an elbow injury. Even quarterback Josh Rekers got dinged up, woozy after taking a sack late in the fourth quarter and having to sit out the end of what turned out to be a TD drive that sent things to overtime.
Mark Atwater came on in relief on fourth down, throwing a first-down pass to Carvin Thompson. Running back Gage Mohs burst over from 8 yards out to make it 28-28 with 5:57 left in regulation.
“The guys are playing hard,” said Rekers, who threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns. “We’re trying to stay as healthy as we can. We’ve got the mentality of the next guy up has to step in and make plays for us.”
These teams were so evenly matched they ended up only four yards apart in final yardage (481-477 Simpson). Coe ran 85 plays to Simpson’s 84.
But one final big play has Simpson (5-1, 3-1 IIAC) still fighting for the Iowa Conference championship and Coe (5-2, 2-2) likely playing out the string. Conference leader Wartburg is up next Saturday at Waverly.
“Watch film tomorrow morning, then forget this. Get right back at it,” Rekers said. “We’ve got to keep practicing hard and try to win these last three games.”
“The road doesn’t get any easier,” Staker said. “We’ve got Wartburg, Central and Luther left … We have to regroup and put this behind us after Sunday.”
Here are the game statistics:
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