Senior Day closes with loss, Football looks to get healthy and return experienced

by Brock Borgeson

Simpson College football fell to Luther College 42-35 on a snowy senior day Saturday as Norse running back Christian Moore scored a game-winning touchdown with 21 seconds remaining.

“The game was always winnable,” senior linebacker Brandon Abernathy said. “It just came down to losing focus and not executing to a high enough level, including myself. There was no one person you could blame it on.”

Two defensive touchdowns by seniors Brandon Abernathy and Joe Gilson as well as two rushing touchdowns by Ethan Calvert helped Simpson earn a 35-21 lead. But a fourth quarter comeback by the Norse kept Simpson winless in the IIAC (3-7, 0-7 IIAC) as the Norse finshed (5-5, 2-5 IIAC).

“It was a microcosm of our own season,” Glogowski said. “We couldn’t get out of our own way. Despite that, our kids, who I’ll give a lot of credit, always battled. To see those kids battle and hang in there Saturday and throughout the year means a lot and says a lot about them.”

The year finished much different from how it began, as Simpson jumped out of the gates with a 3-0 start, highlighted by knocking off No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. The Storm held teams to 5.3 points per game during that span.

A tough 38-31 loss to Buena Vista followed and from that point forward, injuries and a few plays here and there plagued the Storm as they spiraled to a winless IIAC record.

“There was just a lot to overcome at times,” Glogowski said. “In order to win games we had to control the clock, play great defense, and have a good special teams game. If we didn’t do those things, it was tough. It’s just a matter of sometimes being on the negative side of the tight game that we ended up winning last year.”

19 players put the pads down for the final time on Saturday, with a few medical redshirt seniors having the opportunity to return for another year next season.

Simpson will return with considerable depth next year.

“I think next year is going to be a huge year,” Abernathy said. “I think they’re going to surprise a lot of people. We showed flashes of being a conference contender this year, but it just shook out that we didn’t have enough. The younger guys can learn a lot from that and now they understand the work it’ll take in this league.”

Simpson will return all of its starters from the offensive line, and potentially five of their top six receivers, minus leading receiver from 2014, Walker Holland.

There will be depth at secondary as well with Reid Ryan, Patrick Steffen, and Adrean Johnson.

The quarterback position will be up for grabs between sophomore Caleb Frye who filled in for the injured Braedon Tovey Saturday, who will be a senior next season. Leading rusher in 2014, Jordan Beem, will join one of these two in the backfield.

Simpson will play UW-River Falls, Elmhurst College, and Illinois Wesleyan University in its three non-conference games to kick off 2015.

While the offseason will set in quickly, and some new faces will be ushered in, the team will move on looking back on the year in which they continued to grind and build camaraderie despite struggles in conference.

“The kids were great this year, and so positive all the time,” said Glogowski. “There was no bickering. I didn’t want the season to end this year, and Saturday I found myself wanting to prepare for another week. But, now it’s the offseason and we just have to get another birthday under our belt and get a little stronger and smarter.”