Coop’s a Reiver

Lawson headed to Iowa Western to play football

Webster City’s Cooper Lawson has announced he’ll attend Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs in the fall. The all-state offensive lineman will join the Reivers’ football program. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — One of the best prep football players in the state over the last two years has decided to further his career at one of the best junior college programs in the country.

Recent Webster City graduate Cooper Lawson confirmed on Monday that he will enroll at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs in the fall and will join the Reivers’ national power program.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Lawson said. “I think I have the tools to be successful there … I really like the coaches and their plan for me really sounds like what I need right now.”

Lawson, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound two-time first-team all-state offensive lineman in Class 3A by the Iowa Newspaper Association and two-time elite-team award winner from the Des Moines Register, is projected as either a guard or center at the collegiate level.

Also a wrestling standout at heavyweight, Lawson, a 2016 state runner-up, contemplated hitting the mats at the next level as recently as January. Ranked No. 1 in 2A and undefeated entering the state tournament in February, he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in his highly-anticipated quarterfinal match against second-ranked John McConkey of Atlantic. McConkey won the bout, 3-1, and went on to claim the state crown. Lawson hobbled his way through one win on the backside of the bracket, but eventually had to withdraw and settle for eighth place.

Cooper Lawson was a two-time first-team all-state offensive lineman in 2016 and 2017 for Webster City. He was also the 2016 state wrestling runner-up at heavyweight in Class 2A. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

Lawson underwent surgery to repair his ACL and a torn meniscus in March and is currently in the rehabilitation process.

“For a while there I was just lost honestly,” Lawson said. “But I had a good support system around me and together with my family came to this decision to go to Iowa Western.”

Lawson says he’ll be a part-time student at Iowa Western this fall while he continues to rehab his knee. The goal is to join the football program as a full-time student in January when he’s hoping to be medically cleared.

By waiting to become a full-time student until January, Lawson won’t lose a season of eligibility or have to burn his redshirt year while he recuperates this fall.

“The goal right now is to be ready by January and it’s a long process, but I’m just staying optimistic,” he said. “I’m just trying to do all the right things.”

Under head coach Scott Strohmeier, Iowa Western has been one of the dominant programs in NJCAA over the last eight seasons. Since 2010, the Reivers are 79-15 and have finished in the top five nationally five times, highlighted by a national championship in 2012.

Iowa Western went 11-1 a season ago and spent a considerable amount of time atop the national rankings before eventually falling out of the national title picture late. The Reivers were third in the final rankings.

Lawson was a four-year starter for WCHS under head coach Bob Howard, the last three on the offensive line. He hopes Iowa Western will be a springboard to get him to the next level with a Power 5 conference school at the Division I level.

“The goal is to get multiple (scholarship) offers,” Lawson said. “I know that if I work hard, it is possible.”