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Hardly a sidekick

For two years, Concordia receiver Shawn Reile has been the other half of the Cobbers' dynamic receiving duo. He has gladly played the role of Scottie Pippen to Andrew Passanante's Michael Jordan. However, Reile is more than just a sidekick or sec...

Shawn Reile

For two years, Concordia receiver Shawn Reile has been the other half of the Cobbers' dynamic receiving duo.

He has gladly played the role of Scottie Pippen to Andrew Passanante's Michael Jordan.

However, Reile is more than just a sidekick or second fiddle.

"He is one of the most athletic guys I have ever met," Cobber quarterback Brian Schumacher said. "There is nothing he can't do."

Whether it's ping-pong or football, Reile refuses to give less than his all in any competitive situation.

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He will throw a block to spring his running back for a big gain, make a diving one-handed grab in the end zone or give up his body over the middle of the field.

And his determination is not saved for game day.

"There is not a practice that goes by that he doesn't pull off some ridiculous catch," said Passanante, who leads the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 46 receptions and 699 yards. "He's got great hands. He's definitely pushed me to compete at a whole other level."

Reile earned a spot on the Cobbers' traveling roster during his freshman season. He finished with one reception for four yards in four games.

However, his work ethic impressed coaches enough to vault him into the starting lineup the following year. Reile turned heads by catching 25 passes for 434 yards as a sophomore.

"I don't know that I thought I would play right away," he said. "But I thought I did some good things and I would get a shot."

A promising junior season was derailed when Reile injured his hand wakeboarding during the summer.

He played several games with a hand brace and never quite hit his stride. Reile also suffered a high-ankle sprain during the seventh week, which cut his season short.

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"It still eats away at me," Reile said. "I could have stepped up big that year."

Reile's injury allowed Passanante to emerge as one of the top receivers in the conference.

But Reile never pouted -- he got even better.

This season, he is seventh in the MIAC with 28 receptions for 341 yards and five touchdowns.

With a new high-powered passing game, Passanante and Reile have combined for more receptions and yards than any tandem in the league.

"These two guys have the best hands that I've ever coached," Horan said. "They make tough catches look easy. When you have that you are going to be in every game."

Reile said he has an opportunity to become a wakeboarding instructor at San Diego State after graduation.

But he's not thinking about big waves and sandy beaches just yet.

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All of Reile's focus is on capturing the Cobbers' first playoff berth since 1997 with a win against Augsburg on Saturday. A victory would also assure Concordia of its first MIAC title since 1995.

"It's a huge game," Reile said. "We're going to do everything we can to put a check mark next to our goal of going to the playoffs."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562

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