CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Sorry, Freddy Jackson. You're a big NFL running back and everything, but this Coe football team did something all four of yours never did.
A 34-13 win Saturday afternoon over Central at Clark Field wrapped up a 10-0 regular season for NCAA Division III's 10th-ranked team. It's the 10th time the Kohawks have completed a perfect campaign.
Gotta love the symmetry there.
Coe will find out this afternoon who it will play and where in the first round of the D-III playoffs next Saturday. Until then, let these guys soak in exactly what they have accomplished.
"We always talk about going 1-0 each week. Not worrying about the whole season," said defensive end Frank Weymiller, who had another huge game with 11 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. "But we knew this week we didn't want to settle for 9-1. We'd already won the conference, but we didn't want to be 9-1. We wanted to go 10-0."
Which they did, despite two immediate turnovers and a 6-0 deficit five minutes in. Coe had the final three touchdowns to pull away from a 13-13 tie late in the second quarter.
The Kohawks wrapped up their first outright Iowa Conference championship last week at Luther, and didn't play a clean game here, especially offensively. Quarterback Jared McNutt was intercepted three times and there was a lost fumble on the opening kickoff.
It was still good enough to clinch what the school hopes will be a first-round home playoff game and a lengthy postseason run.
"All the seniors, we're really close, and we wanted to go out on a good note," said wide receiver Jared Kuehner, who caught a pair of touchdown passes, setting the school record for receptions in a season in the process. "Our last guaranteed home game, we wanted to finish strong. A perfect season is hard to come by."
"Just a great effort by all of our guys," said Coe Coach Steve Staker. "To go 10-0, that's hard. That's hard. In this league, that is hard. They were able to do it."
Coe seemed to come out of the game relatively unscathed injury wise, though starting defensive end Nate Neuhaus did suffer what appeared to be a broken wrist or forearm in the fourth quarter. Staker said it didn't look good for Neuhaus to play again.
But that didn't dampen what was a sunshiney day, literally. Central finished its season 5-5.
"All these seniors," said Staker of a class that includes 14 starters. "They were so good for each other. Their chemistry was just really good."
"I think we're in a great spot," Weymiller said. "We're relatively healthy, and we're peaking at the right time. I think we're ready to make a run in the playoffs. We've still got to take it one week at a time. It's keep playing for tomorrow now."