Storm football ends season with tough loss

by Matt Lash, Sports Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Defense, road wins and standout performances were the keys to success that led the Storm to a .500 record, finishing this season 5-5 overall (4-4 in IIAC). This is the most wins the team has earned since it finished 7-3 in 2013.

For the first time since the beginning of the 2014-2015 season, the Storm put together consecutive wins on the season, beating Loras College, who was ranked at the time, on the road and following it up with a big homecoming win against Luther College.

Head coach Matt Jeter said he was pleased with the progress of the program this season and hopes they can become competitive enough to compete for IIAC tournaments in the near future.

“Our expectation is to compete for conference championships,” Jeter said. “We made some strides and improvements this year going 5-5. It’s a step in the right direction toward competing for a conference championship.”

In just his second year as head coach, Jeter and the Storm have seen an improvement in overall record, team chemistry, environment and campus attitude toward the program.

“Learning how to compete with teams in the conference was my first objective as a new coach,” Jeter said. “Even though the number of wins didn’t come like we wanted them to, I think we’ve learned how to compete with teams and we’re just right on the cusp of exploding in the conference.”

Losing 22 seniors this season, the team will lean heavily on the underclassmen to step up and grow over the offseason.

“Next man up,” Jeter said. “Coming back, we’ve got some guys that will be able to fill the holes we’re losing to graduation. The offseason will be good to continue to develop those young guys, and even our older guys.”

After a tough 45-38 loss in a shootout at Nebraska Wesleyan last weekend, Jeter and his coaching staff walked away wanting more.

“I was disappointed and so was the coaching staff and the seniors,” Jeter said. “We had the opportunity to end the season on a high note at 6-4. We put ourselves in a hole, down 21 points, and we could get back in the game.”

Two of the five losses for the Storm were one possession games. Jeter knows the team has the potential and ability to win those games.

“At the end of the day, we just have to find a way to win those games, and we couldn’t,” Jeter said.

With plenty of potential remaining on the team, Jeter is excited to continue recruiting for next season.

“Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football,” Jeter said. “We recruit 12 months of the year and we’ve had hundreds of kids here for game days, so we’re excited and fired up to go get this 2018 class.”

Moving forward, Jeter feels more than prepared to lead the in the right direct.

“Everything for me, going on year three as a head coach, is crystal clear,” Jeter said. “Our vision, our core values and our mission are all crystal clear. Expectations are clear cut moving forward.”

In addition to preparing for next season, the team will continue their work with service and building men of character over the offseason through leadership opportunities for players.

“We’re going to tackle leadership over the offseason and have some leadership opportunities for the guys,” Jeter said. “We have leadership captains for each class — freshman, sophomores, et cetera — and each of them are responsible for service projects for their class and painting the goals for their class for the season.”

Jeter hopes these opportunities help build leadership for the players but also hopes to see Storm football become more than just another sport on campus.