When Coy Kirkpatrick steps into The Jungle to open the season next Friday, he will be looking to accomplish a season-long goal that alluded the siblings before him.
Kirkpatrick has the chance to join elite company on the family mantle, as his dad, Craig, is the only Kirkpatrick in Madrid who has won a football state championship.
In 1991, Madrid won its lone football state championship. The Tigers beat A-H-S-T, Avoca 14-3, with running back Craig Kirkpatrick putting a cap on his 1,700 yard season with one touchdown and 62 yards in the title game.
It was the second title game in two years for the Tigers. The first championship game did not go as well as the next. Madrid was on the wrong end of a 33-13 final against Logan-Magnolia in 1990.
Fast forward 20 years to all three of the next generation of Kirkpatricks on the field together for the first time. Clay, Cade and Coy working the offensive line. It was something the youngest had dreamed about.
“It was great being able to look to my left and see one brother next to me, and look right to see another,” Coy Kirkpatrick said. “Clay, he’s helped me a lot. Freshman, they’re getting everything, but he knew I had potential to be something.”
The oldest brother was right. Following his senior year, Coy will be headed off to the University of Iowa to play under Kirk Ferentz on the offensive line. Before that though, he will try to take the year slow.
“I mean, everybody had the question, are you looking forward to playing at Iowa,” he said. “I’m just going to take it one sport at a time. I’m going to cherish every moment I have with my friends.
I remember starting my first game, and now I’m a senior getting ready to play my first game in a week. I’ll be ready for college when it comes around, but I’ve got my senior year and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Part of the success and growth Coy has gone through has been seeing first hand the difficulties of losing. Since his freshman year (2013), the Tigers have never made it past the second round of substate, losing in 2013 to A-H-S-T 24-16 - when Clay (senior) and Cade (sophomore) were on the the team with Coy - and in 2015 to Van Meter 26-20. In 2014, the Tigers lost to IKM-Manning in the first round of substate.
“We just have to build off it,” Kirkpatrick said. “If you get knocked in the mouth, are you going to get back up or lay down? You just have to wake up and know you have to get better every day. We need to utilize that as a tool.”
The last time Madrid made it to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Clay was on the team. The Tigers bowed out with a 38-48 loss to West Hancock in the Class A semifinals. In the loss, the then-sophomore registered three and a half tackles. The following year, with brother Cade on the team as a freshman, Madrid lasted only to the first round of substate in a 5-5 year.
With all three on the team in 2013, the Tigers were bruisers up front and in the backfield. The three combined for 51 and a half tackles on the defensive line and Madrid rushed for 4,383 yards and 59 touchdowns.
“My grandpa’s one wish was for us three to play on the line, and we got him that,” the youngest Kirkpatrick said. “It was definitely awesome to play. It’s kind of rare to see all three in an age group, but all three playing together, it was awesome.”
Since playing on the team together, the Kirkpatricks went their own ways. Clay is working at an apprenticeship with a company in Iowa. Cade, running track at UNI on scholarship, will be able to show Coy and the Tigers the ropes around Cedar Falls come November, should Madrid reach the class A state semifinals.
Madrid’s season opener will be Friday against Woodward-Granger at 7 p.m. at home. Be on the lookout for the 1991 Football State Championship banner outside the main gates.