2015 season recap: Picking up the pieces after the Storm


by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

Simpson capped off its 2015 season with a 42-28 win over Luther last Saturday, finishing the season 4-6 and 3-4 in Iowa Conference play, good for tied for fourth in the league.

“When you get down to it, we wanted to finish on a positive,” head coach Jim Glogowski said. “Winning that game put in the middle of the pack, losing that game would have put us at the bottom of the league.”

The overall feeling

Being at the bottom of the league wouldn’t have represented Simpson’s season this year, which came to be defined by decisive plays late in the games, erasing fourth quarter leads or making it awfully hard on Simpson to come back.

Three times this season the Storm lost games after leading at some point in the fourth quarter, and the one instance this wasn’t the case in conference play, Simpson still only lost by one possession, falling 51-45 to a stout Wartburg team.

“If we make a play here, a catch there or a tackle here we might be playing to a different tune right now,” Glogowski said. “But, good football teams consistently make those plays and unfortunately we didn’t make enough.”

“It’s hard to put it on a single play but just those fourth quarters and a culmination of having trouble finishing games,” junior running back Jordan Beem said.

“Those key plays”

In a season that features roughly 1400 plays, saying that you can boil it down to a play here or there is almost preposterous. But that isn’t to say there weren’t some plays that stood out this season that helped define the year.

At 2-1 in conference, leading 9-6 over Loras with just around 13 minutes remaining, the Duhawks faced a 3rd down and 21 yard situation from their own 14.

If Simpson stops them, they could easily eat away at the clock and potentially put the game away with another score.

Instead, Loras quarterback Nolan Baumhover evaded the rush, heaved up a desperation pass, and found wide receiver Josh Schulte for a 29-yard pass after it had tipped off the hands of safety Adrean Johnson.

Five plays later and the Duhawks scored on a 40-yard touchdown pass, putting Loras up 13-9 while helping send Simpson on a three-game losing skid that put them out of contention for the Iowa Conference crown.

“That Loras game is just one that blows my mind,” Glogowski said. “That’s one you look back on as one that got away from us that I’m really disappointed about.”

Even earlier in the year, and on a smaller scale, was another season-shaping play, this time against Dubuque.

2-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference, Simpson was leading Dubuque 21-17 just into the 4th quarter. Dubuque was facing a 3rd down and 10 from their own 27 and managed to convert on a 26-yard pass before scoring a touchdown later on the drive.

Dubuque finished with a 14-3 run and won 31-24. That was the second game in their seven-game spotless run to the NCAA Tournament and an Iowa Conference crown. Who knows what happens to them, Simpson or the league if the Storm get a stop.

“It’s, as dumb as it sounds, you say this as a cliché, but we could have been 7-0 in conference,” Glogowski said.

Now, those key plays weren’t all negatives.

A particular high moment was when Simpson batted down a last-second Hail Mary pass at Coe College to preserve an 18-15 win, a team and place Simpson has struggled with in the last decade.

Then there was the 43-13 throttling of Buena Vista, repaying the Beavers for a season-altering loss last year while serving as quarterback Caleb Frye’s graduation into the first of potentially many games as the solidified starter.

“It wasn’t until Buena Vista that we really settled in on a quarterback,” Glogowski said.

How 2015 is remembered

Based on reactions from players and coaches after the season, there was a unique and dichotomous feeling about the year.

It was a stepping stone year that had a new offense and switched around coaching staff, all the while having the contrast of incompleteness but also satisfaction. A lot went into 2015.

Freshmen through seniors made major contributions this year, and apart from losing major figures on the offensive line, the team next year should be stronger.

“The team we have out there Aug. 15, 2016 won’t be a whole lot different than who we had out there on Nov. 14,” Glogowski said.

In terms of incompleteness, any conference game was in their grasp and the talent was in place to follow through on that.

“We had a good football team,” Glogowski said. “One of the best football teams we’ve had.”

In satisfaction, Simpson proved a preseason last-place prediction wrong, significantly.

“That doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people, but when you’re picked last in the preseason rankings and then you play everyone within a score [it’s impressive],” Glogowski said.

“I will definitely remember this year, and recall those guys up front and our seniors,” Beem said.

See you later, Iowa

Football in terms of preparation, recruiting, money and just time spent off the field in general is completely different than in any other sport, especially at the collegiate level.

The coaching staff’s recruiting grind is a perfect example of that.

Beginning on Wednesday, Simpson coaches, who are coming off roughly two off days over the last 15 weeks, will be hitting all corners of the United States, seeing countless schools and somewhere between 1,200 to 1,500 students.

“Nine of 10 guys will tell you no,” Glogowski said. “We have to find that one guy that says yeah.”

They’ll be on the road all throughout the winter, spending time in hotels and away from their families.

“For us, I understand the culture of Simpson and the enrollment,” Glogowski said. “Every private college in Iowa is struggling with that. But for us it’s about having great guys.”

All-conference performers will be named in the coming week or weeks, and Simpson hopes to complement some of these players with a strong in-coming class next year.