It's hard to fly under the radar when you are a 6-foot-3 wide receiver. After Friday, it's going to be impossible for Homestead's Seth Coate.
The Spartans senior caught two touchdown passes and had a great punt return Friday to spark the Spartans' to a 49-27 victory at Carroll.
Homestead remains unbeaten (5-0) in the Northeast Hoosier Conference and Carroll falls to 3-2 in conference play.
Despite his size, speed and skills, Coate is simply one of many option in the explosive Homestead offense. That's understandable when option No. 1 is IU recruit Isaac Griffth, a 6-2 senior wide receiver.
“Seth is a tremendous talent for us,” said Homestead coach Chad Zolman. “But he flies under the radar when we have guys like Isaac and (Grayson) Bastin out there.”
The key word of Zolman's statement is “when”. Friday the Spartans had zero production from Griffith, who has a badly-sprained ankle. Along with several other injuries to offensive personnel, Homestead had to rely on players like Coate.
“We have developed depth out of necessity,” Zolman said. “We've had a lot of guys go down.”
Coate, all 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds of him, has been standing at the ready. His first touchdown of the game came after his electrifying 42-yard punt return. The touchdown was a 12-yard pass to left side of the goal line that Coate snagged. The second touchdown came on a short pass to the left sideline that Coate caught and then eluded two defenders on his way to a 23-yard score.
“The great thing about Seth is that he catches everything that is thrown to him,” Zolman said. “He has incredible hands.”
But you ask Coate about his best trait and he chuckles.
“I'm 6-3,” Coate says. “I think that helps me a lot.”
Getting Coate to talk about himself is pretty hard. In fact, when asked how many touchdowns he has on the season, he replied: “Oh, I don't really know. We don't really keep track of individual stats.”
Coate doesn't hesitate to talk about his role on the team, especially with the recent injuries.
“The seniors got together and talked about how we need to take charge,” Coate said. “When people get hurt, you need to step up and lead.”
Zolman may think that Coate has flown “under the radar”, but Carroll coach Doug Dinan said the Chargers were not fooled.
“Seth Coate,” Dinan said when asked if the Chargers were surprised. “No, not at all. Seth Coate is a talented player. We knew all about him. Homestead is a very deep, talented team. Coach Zolman does a great job preparing his players.”
Coate's second touchdown gave Homestead a 20-14 lead (the extra point kick failed) in the second quarter. The Spartans then survived a Carroll charge in the final seconds of the half. Carroll had four cracks at the end zone, the final three coming after a touchdown was nullified for pass interference.
From a 20-14 halftime lead, Homestead wracked up a safety and then another score for a 28-14 lead early in the third quarter. After Carroll responded with a touchdown run by Drue Tranquill, Homestead answered with three touchdowns to put the game out of reach.