Simpson has advantage in Homecoming matchup


by David Morain

This Saturday means more than just Homecoming for the Simpson Storm. They are looking to right themselves after a 21-7 loss to archrival Central last weekend and a win would give them a winning conference record. Luther, on the other hand, is 1-3 in the conference following three straight losses to Wartburg, Buena Vista and Cornell. The Norse have a potent offense, however, and will challenge a Storm defense that has yielded 122 points this season.

So who has the upper hand going into the game this Saturday?


Simpson: Junior Mike Donnenwerth has connected on 77 of his 139 attempts, making him the most efficient passer in the conference. So far he has racked up 1004 yards and seven touchdowns.

Luther: Derek Distin has been at the helm of the Norse offense this year. He has completed 57 of 135 passes for 567 yards and three touchdowns. He also has decent speed, rushing for 117 yards this so far, including a 40-yarder.

Advantage: Simpson

Running Backs::

Simpson: Senior Pete Kirwan has only 160 yards to show for his 80 attempts, leaving him with a two yard average. Sophomore John Soenen has come on strong as of late, however, compiling 127 yards three games while averaging better than four yards per carry. He ran a touchdown in from 41 yards out last Saturday against a tough Dutch defense.

Luther: Mike Jefferson already has 439 yards and six touchdowns. He averages 6.4 yards every time he touches the ball.

Advantage: Luther

Wide Receivers:

Simpson: The Storm will look to super senior Jesse Von Behren to propel the passing attack this Saturday. He has hauled in 30 receptions for 525 yards and five touchdowns. He will divert attention from wide receiver Kyle Peterson (13 receptions for 113 yards) and Jeromy Keehn, a big-play receiver who averages 35.5 yards per reception. Tight end Jason Schnell is also a threat, compiling 12 catches for 116 yards.

Luther: Ashley Johnson seems to be the only real danger on the Norse receiving corps. He has caught 17 passes for 168 yards and accounts for two of the three Luther passing touchdowns this year. Brett Weber, who has nine receptions for 106 yards, caught the other.

Advantage: Simpson

Offensive Line:

Simpson: The Storm have given up 15 sacks this year. Luther, however, has sacked opposing quarterbacks 18 times in five games.

Luther: Luther O-Line has allowed only nine sacks this year and has proved that they are a big reason for the success of their running game.

Advantage: Luther

Defensive Line:

Simpson: Senior Caleb Sellers and his 23 tackles anchors a D-Line that has only produced 2.5 sacks this year. Sellers accounts for one of those sacks with fifth-year senior Nolan Carson garnering the other one and a half. Carson also has three tackles for loss so far.

Luther: Scott Romens, Jason Freed, Kevin Pennekamp, and Brandon Schwegel have combined for seven of the Norse sacks this year. Opposing teams are only averaging only 128.4 yards per game on the ground.

Advantage: Luther


Simpson: Senior Todd Samuels is tied for the team high with 49 tackles. He also has tackles for loss and a sack. Junior Ben Jauer has accumulated 2.5 tackles for loss and a timely interception against Buena Vista.

Luther: Jason Grimm, who already has five sacks this year, will give Donnenwerth fits all day. John Jaeger has two sacks and an interception.

Advantage: Luther

Defensive Backs:

Simpson: Sophomore Kyle Westphal, who almost takes away one side of the field himself, already has three interceptions and nine pass breakups. Senior Brad Gibson is tied with Samuels for the team lead in tackles. Junior Brian Koenig contributes with an interception and two pass breakups. The Storm have only given up three passing touchdowns this year.

Luther: Brian Sparby, a physical D-back at 6-2/210 lbs., has three interceptions thus far. Brandon Fields has an interception and five pass breakups. The Norse have allowed 6 passing touchdowns this year.

Advantage: Simpson

Special Teams:

Simpson: Senior Kyle Peterson returns kickoffs (16.1 yard average) and punts (11.6 yard average) for the Storm this year. Simpson special teams are holding opponents to 3.1 yards per punt return. Senior Brett Majors is three of five on field goal attempts.

Luther: Jefferson, the running back, handles kickoffs for the Norse, averaging 22.5 yards per return. Adam Anderson has been the regular punt returner for Luther, though he only averages 7.5 yards per attempt. Josh Cinnamo has connected on three of six field goal attempts.

Advantage: Simpson

Overall Prediction: While the Luther running attack will control the clock this Saturday, the Storm passing combo of Donnenwerth to Von Behren will have the Norse running circles by the end of the game.

Simpson 31, Luther 21