NCAA Division-III Playoffs: Coe vs. Monmouth
The No. 13 Coe Kohawks will host the No. 17 Monmouth Scots on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division-III football playoffs. The Kohawks won the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) after going 10-0 and never scoring less than 23-points in a game. Monmouth also finished 10-0 behind an impressive defense that yielded just 84-points in 10-games.
How They Got Here:
The Coe College Kohawks rolled through the regular season in the IIAC. They dominated their first four games of the season, before downing IIAC powerhouse Wartburg College on October 1, 37-34. A week later they would win another close contest, defeating Central College 33-30 then defeated the University of Dubuque 23-12. The final three weeks of the season they rolled, scoring better than 40 in each of those contests.
The Monmouth College Scots proved that they have a shot of being a real challenge for any team that will face them in playoffs, defeating Wartburg as well. That would be in week 2 of the season, when they won 29-22. They then ran through their Midwest Conference (MWC) schedule, going 8-0 and never winning by less than 24-points. That included a 38-14 victory over St. Norbert, last season’s MWC champions.
Coe: 42.4 PPG, 272.5 Rushing/Game, 229.4 Passing/Game, 501.9 Yards/Game
Monmouth: 48.9 PPG, 249.9 Rushing/Game, 261.0 Passing/Game, 510.9 Yards/Game
Coe: 16.9 PPG, 142.9 Rushing/Game, 219.0 Passing/Game, 361.9 Yards/Game
Monmouth: 8.4 PPG, 82.6 Rushing/Game, 116.4 Passing/Game, 199.0 Yards/Game
Players to Watch
Coe College has an absolute beast in Trevor Heitland, who rushed for 1,619-yards and 14-touchdowns during the regular season. He is as tough to stop as any player in the country and will be a huge key in this contest. Gavin Glenn gets a little overlooked, but he is a big time playmaker for the Kohawks. The QB passed for 2,244-yards and 24-TDs, while throwing just 4-picks and he had an impressive 64.1 completion percentage. He has five outstanding targets, making it really hard to focus on any one receiver as six different players caught at least 17-passes. The success of this receiving corps only makes Heitland that much better.
On defense, Robbie Peters led the team with 5-sacks and is a disruptive force on the line. Dylan Stepleton was the leader with 61-tackles and he also made an impressive 8-interceptions. Three other players had at least 50-tackles.
Tanner Matlick is a big-time playmaker as well, passing for 2,322-yards and 27-TDs with just 3-picks. He does not make mistakes and has a deadly accurate arm, completing 73.1 percent of his passes. Five receivers caught at least 17-passes on this team, with Brock Thoms leading the pack. He made 43-receptions for 749-yards and 7-TDs, and Yansay Williams led the team with 8-touchdowns. DeAndre Wright is very elusive, rushing for 1,141-yards and 14-touchdowns. He had an impressive 8.0 yards per carry average.
On defense for Monmouth, Matt Barnes seems to be everywhere. He made 108-tackles and recorded 2.5-sacks. Thomas Lesniewski led the team with 9-sacks and Logan Gigl was not far behind with 7.
This should be a great matchup of two upstarts that proved that they belonged here, not only because they both went 10-0, but also because each team won against some outstanding opponents. Both have great running backs, quarterbacks that can win games, and defenses that know how to shutdown opponents. This looks like a very evenly matched game, but the biggest difference is Brandon Abbas, who made 12 of 13 field goals for Coe this season. He will likely be the difference in this contest. Take the Kohawks in a nail-biter, 31-28.
By Robert Pannier