Seniors dominate football defense


by Brandon OrtaleStaff Writer

The seniors on Simpson’s football team not only lead the team in tackles but also lead the team off the field.

Head Coach Jay Niemann described all the seniors on defense as experienced, tough leaders with good attitudes.

“They give us quality performance and do wonders for our program,” Niemann said. “Their ability as players, while they are all-around good guys, makes coaching enjoyable.”

According to Niemann, senior defensive end Dustin Schelling from Atlantic is very active, agile, quick, is a terrific pass rusher and gained weight during the off-season, which brought his game from good to great.

“My goal on defense is to be as destructive as possible,” Schelling said.

Senior defensive tackle B.J. Bengard from Orange City is a warrior, plays hurt, is active, aggressive and very athletic for an interior defender.

“The best part about my position is sacking the quarterback and seeing a defensive touchdown,” Bengard said.

Senior linebacker Eric Hentges from LeMars is explosive, strong and quick, with big play capability. He is also intense, almost to a fault, because he’s hard on himself.

Schelling, who started playing organized football in fifth grade, has returned two fumbles for long touchdowns, including an 88-yarder. He also has 13 solo tackles and 6.5 sacks. Last year, Schelling was named second team All-Conference and led the team in interceptions with three.

“The stat I take the most pride in is sacks, because it means I’m making an impact for the team,” Schelling said.

According to Schelling, he leads the defense by example by working hard on the field during games, practices and during the off-season.

“During the off-season I lift weights and also gained 20 pounds from last year to improve my play,” Schelling said. “The defensive players should concentrate on the off-season and work hard to improve.”

Bengard leads by example too. He said he motivates the defense by hustling and pumping up the team by making big plays.

“My goal on defense is to get the ball to the offense, so we can score,” Bengard said.

Bengard, who has been playing football since he was six years old, is tied with Schelling with 6.5 sacks and has 18 solo tackles. Last year Bengard led the team in forced fumbles with two, was third in tackles for a loss and sacks and was fifth on the team with 59 tackles.

Bengard said he doesn’t care so much for personal statistics but cares more for the team performance.

“As a team, we want to hold the opposition scoreless or at a low score,” Bengard said.

Bengard believes practice is important to improve in-game performance.