Expectations heading into the game were that it was not going to be an easy one for the Duhawks when they visited the Coe College Kohawks for their second match on the Iowa Conference schedule.
The offense displayed by the No. 25 ranked team in Division III was too much for the Duhawk defense to handle the Duhawks record dropped to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in conference following the 69-7 defeat.
“We expected to win the game. We went in with the mind set that we had a good plan,” said Coach Paul Mierkiewicz. “We felt confident coming off the win against Luther; we just really never got started.”
Loras is hardly the first opponent that Coe has beat convincingly, coming off a 51-0 win against Buena Vista University, the Kohawks are now 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference.
Mierkiewicz pointed to a host of issues that went on during the game that seemed to doom the Duhawks from getting anything going for the team.
“We were not very good. There were a couple things. First of all we were playing a really good football team and playing them on the road, so we had that adversity right away. We had every bad thing possible happen to us. From slipping at the 1-yard line on the opening kickoff, catching a punt that wandered in the wind inside the five, ran into our own punt returner and turned the ball over,” said Mierkiewicz. “We bobbled a snap on a punt in the end zone, uncovered a guy that wound up talking him at the 1-yard line. Everything that could have happened did happen.”
Coe continues to lead the IIAC in many categories including scoring offense and defense, and rushing offense which was in full display from the beginning of the game.
Coe running back Brendan Leiran had five touchdowns in the game, and collected four in the first quarter.
The Iowa Conference leading rusher, first-year Nate Carrier, was able to extend his streak to four games with over 100 yards rushing, netting 121 on 21 carries, despite a chunk of the yards coming on the Duhawks only touchdown in the third quarter on a 65-yard run.
“Coe was very focused on stopping our run game,” said Carrier. “They were filling up all of the holes on the inside and not leaving much open on the outside. We were never really able to get into a rhythm offensively.”
The Duhawks have had a 100-yard rusher in each game this season, and are ranked fourth in the conference in rushing offense.
Junior Dylan Jones completed seven passes on 21 attempts for 70 yards. Senior Kyle Killian and junior Brendan Oates caught two passes each from Jones for a total of 31 and 11 yards, respectively.
“I am more assessing our team throughout the week. The game gets played on Tuesday and Wednesday. We get paid on Saturday,” Mierkiewicz said. “That is when the team has all the fun and gets a chance to play. But all the work has to be done at a higher intensity on Tuesday and Wednesday. Until we can change that we are going to struggle with good teams because they are playing so much faster than we are because they are practicing faster than we do. We have to get out of this mentality that every day is a walkthrough.”
Seniors Brandon Ronan and Kyle Kirchhoff led the team with tackles with nine and eight, respectively. Kirchhoff also wrapped up the Duhawks lone sack of the game. First-year Tim Mikeworth followed with six total tackles as well as an interception in the second quarter.
It will not get easier going into this weekend for the Duhawks as they travel to Simpson (4-1 overall, 2-0 IIAC) to face the top passing offense in the conference.
“They are very good offensively. Their junior quarterback has started the past two years. He is as athletic as you will see at quarterback,” said Mierkiewicz. “They have some big time receivers, they have great speed and size, this is an impressive football team. When I voted for conference I voted them No. 1 because of the impression they made at the end of the year and the strides they had made.”