Band of ‘brothers’

Band of brothers

by Stacy Owens

Experience is something Simpson’s football team is not lacking this season. The team has 17 of 22 returning starters back and the players believe their experience will be their biggest strength.

“We have 17 returning starters back and with their playing experience it makes for a good nucleus and it’s the backbone of our program this season,” Head Football Coach Jay Niemann said. “Experience will be our biggest strength, having the number of players we do who have played in league games and that have national playoff experience from 2003.”

The football players consider themselves a very close, tight-knit group.

“We’re all brothers and we all care for each other,” senior Nick McFall said. “We have each other’s backs in dogfights and on the road. We’re not individuals, we’re a team. We have a great coaching staff to put us in the right situation to win the games and a bunch of guys who want to succeed.”

The senior class has been playing together for four years now and feels that factor will better their performance on the field.

“We have quite a number of leaders on the team and we gel well together,” senior Andrew Lansink said. “The senior class is very close, we’ve been playing together for four years and together we can motivate the younger ones.”

The players and coaches have both set goals this year, even though they are slightly different – but both groups are hoping the Storm ends up at the top of the pack this year.

“If you ask the players, their goal would be to be conference champs,” Niemann said. “As a coach, I want our team to go out and play to our full potential every week and be very systematic in what we do, a system in which we stick to our beliefs on offensive, defense and special teams.”

Not much has changed from last season to this season. But this year the players have a better understanding the of importance of leadership.

“We have a better core of players who understand the importance and magnitude of leadership,” Niemann said. “They are very assertive as a group and as leaders.”

The team, now 1-1 two weeks into the season, realizes it has to work hard each and every week in the league.

“Our biggest struggle is having the ability to compete in the league that has the parity of ours,” Niemann said.

The players realize that they have a tough and exciting season ahead of them.

“There are a lot of good things to come, we have a good shot at the rest of the season,” Lansink said. “Everyone has their heads up and is looking forward to what’s to come.”

The football team feels more students at the game would serve as a great confidence booster.

“Students should come watch because we’re trying to build a great program and we need everyone’s support,” McFall said. “We want people who come to play at Buxton stadium to know that, because of the crowd, it’s a tough place to play.”