A look ahead – All hands on deck for 2014 football season

by Brock Borgeson, Sports editor

After incrementally improving from (5-5) to (7-3) over the past three seasons, the Storm football team looks to continue this trend as they take the field this fall, beginning at Iowa Wesleyan University on Sept. 6th.

Despite the fact that the Storm graduated six all – Iowa Conference honorable mentions and team members from last year’s team, the Storm will rebound by returning 11 starters and 42 letter-winners from last year’s squad. Rounding out this group are Clay Finley and Nate Connealy, both of which were named USA College Football Preseason All-Americans.

“We finished second the last two years, and legitimately had a chance to win a conference championship,” said head coach Jim Glogowski. “I think we have a chance to be there again and be competitive. I feel good about the guys we have in the program, with 20 seniors. I believe that those guys will step up.”

Coach Glogowski, who has compiled a 30-30 record for the storm after five seasons at the helm for the Storm, continues to emphasize and reinforce the “team” before “me” motto, lead by trust and commitment. This philosophy has clearly trickled down throughout his roster, echoed by senior team captains Finley and Ethan Calvert.

“My biggest goal is getting the team to where it needs to be,” says Finley. “Any honors that I get I’d trade for any team accomplishment.”

Calvert, a senior captain at running back for the 2014 campaign, spoke in the same vein as Finley and Glogowski.

“Coach Glogowski just pounds into us the importance of the team,” said Calvert. Everybody matters and everybody is important. I don’t necessarily have an individual goal, but my goal is to see the team succeed.”

Simpson’s high powered offensive attack of 2013, finishing second only to Dubuque University in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) in points per game with 32.7 a contest, will have to deal with losses of starters, Brad Vogel (WR), Taylor Nelson (QB), Patrick Thompson (OL), Mike Kuhn (WR), Jake McCulley (TE), and Michael Chia (RB). The job of replacing Taylor Nelson at Quarterback will be left in the hands of Dylan Berkey and Braedon Tovey, who together only combined for 4 passing attempts in 2013.

The Storm who finished seventh in the IIAC in total defense last season will return 4 defensive starters in Clay Finley (DE), Alex Severn (DT), Brandon Abernathy (LB), and Reid Ryan (CB), to help replace a group of seven defensive starters lost from year. Second Team All-IIAC member Ted Haag (LB), who has joined the Storm coaching staff for 2014, highlights the group of defensive starters lost from last year’s team.

The Storm will need contributions all across the board to compete within a hotly contested IIAC, in which Simpson was predicted to finish fifth in according to IIAC Preseason Football rankings poll.

The Wartburg College Knights, who won the conference in 2013, begin the year ranked 17th in the nation. They come to Simpson on Nov. 8, which is expected to be an important late-season matchup for the Storm. Despite losing well over half of the starting roster, annual IIAC contender Coe College is slotted to finish second in the IIAC.

IIAC foes, Dubuque University, Buena Vista Univeristy and Central College are also expected to be in the mix as the Storm strive for the IIAC crown.

Illinois Wesleyan University highlights Simpson’s non-conference schedule as Simpson hosts the Titans on Sep. 20. The Titans haven’t posted a losing season since 2006, and are a perennial contender in a CCIW conference that routinely has teams that compete for national titles.

The Storm took home a 21-14 victory over Graceland University on Aug. 30th in a tune-up for the season opener on Sept. 6th. The Storm coaching staff and roster look to carry over the growth from training camp to the regular season, which all begins with the team’s progress as a unit.

“I like our chances if we play as a team,” said Glogowski. I like how are team has developed. We have really strong numbers, our depth is really good. Those guys have put in the time and effort in so we’ll see.”