The expectations are much higher for the Coe College football team coming into this season. The Kohawks return 17 starters from last year’s team that compiled a 10-2 mark and earned a trip to the second round of the division three national playoffs. Coach Steve Staker’s team is ranked 12th nationally in the pre-season.

Staker says climbing the ladder is a lot easier than staying on top of the ladder, and he says the kids have high expectations, but know they have a journey to get to where they want to be. He says they have harped on the idea of playing the games one at a time.

Among the returnees is Iowa Conference MVP Brad Boyle. The junior quarterback threw 19 touchdown passes and only one interception. Staker says Boyle’s confidence level is the most impressive thing right now, as nothing seems to rattle him.

Staker feels turnover margin may be the most important statistic in football and the Kohawks were a plus-18 in that category in 2009. He says defensively they are pulling at the ball all the time and offensively they stress taking care of the ball. Staker says the quarterbacks are told that if receiver is not open, then run the ball or throw it away and don’t try to force it in.

Coe opens the season at Iowa Wesleyan on September fourth.