Football welcomes Coe for annual Homecoming game

by Brock Borgeson, sports editor

After losing an up and down affair to Buena Vista, 38-31, two weeks ago, the Storm football team had an opportunity to jump into the win column in conference play against a previously 1-3 Dubuque Spartans team last weekend.

Unfortunately, a swarming Dubuque defense, an untimely turnover, a rash of injuries, and a Storm offense that couldn’t get its wheels turning eventually lead to a 44-10 loss at the hands of Dubuque.

“We got outplayed,” said assistant coach and offensive coordinator, Joe Beschorner. “It wasn’t anything we weren’t ready for. The biggest thing was when you get down to it they’re a good football team. The played better than we did; they just played faster and more confidently.”

The Spartans controlled much of the game, outgaining Simpson 487 to 292 in the yardage battle, while converting a crucial three of three fourth down conversions to Simpson’s one of five rate in that category.

Despite dropping the first conference games, Simpson is still sitting at 3-2 overall, with five conference games remaining, enough time to turn things around make a run at the conference lead which is currently shared by Wartburg and Buena Vista at 2-0.

“Right now we are at 3-2, and if we are able to get a win Saturday we’ll be 4-2 at the midpoint mark, positioned to have a really good season,” said an expectant head coach Jim Glogowski. “The first three and half games of the season we couldn’t have played much better. We have to get back to that football.”

Simpson will have a chance to get back to the winning football that got them off to their best start since 2003 as they host the Kohawks of Coe College in the annual homecoming game this Saturday at 1 p.m.

This is the second time in three years that Simpson’s homecoming game has been against Coe, with the last instance being a 47-7 loss to the Kohawks in 2012.

Coe comes into the game 2-3 (1-1 IIAC) after Wartburg handed them a 43-0 drubbing last week. Despite their .400 winning percentage, the Kohawks do not have a bad loss on the season.

Their three losses have all come against nationally ranked opponents including: No. 11 Wheaton (Ill.), No. 14 UW-Stevens Point, and No. 6 Wartburg. Their lone conference win came against Loras two weeks ago in which they won 36-10, but like Simpson, Coe is fighting to find a rhythm as they head into the meat of the conference schedule.

“Coe looks a lot like us on film,” said Glogowski. “It’ll be a couple teams still finding their identity a little bit, and probably not playing as clean of football as they would like to be playing. But I expect two teams to come in here and fight to win.”

Coe will look much different from the 7-3 squad Simpson beat 41-38 in double overtime last season, as they’ve lost considerable senior leadership.

Amongst other IIAC teams, the Kohawks are in the middle of the pack statistically on both sides of the ball, placing fifth in both total offense and total defense. Coe has allowed 9.8 more points per game than the Storm while scoring an average of 27 points per contest, 3.2 more than Simpson’s clip of 23.8 points per game on offense.

“I think they’re really well coached, they always have been,” said Beschorner. “Their defensive coordinator does a really good job. They’re sound. They don’t get themselves in a lot of bad positions that way. But, it always comes down to us having to do what we do better than they do what the do well.”

6’ 6” junior, Josh Rekers takes the quarterbacking duties for the Kohawks in his second year in the starting role at Coe. Rekers comes into play throwing for 1201 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. One point of concern for Rekers is how frequently he has been sacked this year. After five games, Rekers has already been sacked 17 times, a weakness that the Storm will hope to exploit.

Also on the offensive side of the ball is Kohawk running back, Sam Lahr, who is second in the IIAC in all-purpose yards at 129.8 yards per game.

Simpson will have to deal with a banged up defense this Saturday in hopes of containing the likes of Rekers and Lahr. Among others, the Storm will still be without preseason USA All-American defensive end, Clay Finley, while linebacker Grant Eller looks to return from a calf injury suffered against Buena Vista.

“To be honest, we don’t really talk about injuries very much,” said Glogowski. “Injuries are a part of the game. We really have a ‘next man’ mentality. We’ll try to get these guys treated up but you always just have to put the next guy out there. The silver lining is now we give some guys a chance to play who haven’t had a chance yet.”

After a stagnant performance against Dubuque, Simpson will look to find some early success against Coe to regain the momentum they lost midway through their loss to Buena Vista. The energy from the homecoming crowd at Bill Buxton Stadium may be the fuel Simpson needs to be ignited to a hot start against the Kohawks this Saturday.

“The last two weeks Dubuque and Buena Vista have had the advantage of feeding off of a homecoming crowd, and it’ll be our turn this week,” said Glogowski. “We’ll expect to have a great crowd with excited students, and hopefully we could turn out a performance everyone will be excited about.”