A patient Dylan Berkey finally gets his call

by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

In college sports today, especially in Division I athletics, it’s very common to see student-athletes pout and eventually transfer schools because of a lack of playing time or dissatisfying playing style.

Even MLB All-Star Ian Kinsler experienced this as he transferred from Arizona State University after being shelved behind fellow future MLB All-Star second baseman, Dustin Pedroia.

For Simpson College senior starting quarterback, Dylan Berkey, it was Taylor Nelson who stood in front of Berkey. Despite the wait, Berkey had his heart set first on being a good teammate and keeping the hope of earning a starting spot his senior year; which he has finally earned.

“It’s a great opportunity getting the starting job,” said Berkey, “But I know one thing our coaches have always emphasized, it’s not really about the games you play or the touchdowns you score, it’s more about building relationships and memories. Taylor was a great guy to be behind too, he really helped me learn and develop as a quarterback.”

Berkey has taken full advantage of his first three games at the starting quarterback role this year after only briefly appearing in five games in the previous three seasons.

“He has handled the situation well, better than anyone in his situation could have handled it,” said assistant coach and offensive coordinator Joe Beschorner in reference to waiting for the starting role. “You’re part of the team regardless of position. Everyone has a role, and should take the opportunities they’re given, and that’s what Dylan has done.”

For a guy who was drawn to the Simpson football program because of the coaches, Berkey has definitely earned the respect up and down the coaching staff.

The senior quarterback out of Colfax-Mingo high school has gotten Simpson off to a 3-0 start, Simpson’s best start since 2003, which was the last time the Storm made the NCAA playoffs. During this span, Berkey has passed for 664 yards and four touchdowns while connecting on 61.2 percent of his passes, leading the Storm offense to an average of 26 points per game.

“Dylan throws the deep ball well, never leaving the ball short. He always gives our receivers a chance,” Beschorner said.

Berkey has also shown an ability to use his feet, putting the ball on the ground 30 times and rushing for a team leading three touchdowns. Despite throwing four interceptions so far, Berkey is known by his coaches and teammates to be a cerebral quarterback who makes good decisions.

“I think his brain is his biggest asset. He always knows where to go with the ball. He’s always in there watching film with Coach Beschorner,” Casey Coy, defensive end and close friend of Berkey. “Dylan has a calm, cool, collected feeling about him. He’s never really worried about what’s going to happen. He’s just out there playing football.”

Coy had good things to say of Berkey off the field as well, seeing him as one of the “best and most helpful guys around, who definitely makes it easy to be a roommate and friend with.”

Coach Beschorner echoed Coy, “I think his demeanor and body language is fantastic; he’s even keel. That’s the biggest thing he has going in terms of intangibles.”

As far as NFL quarterbacks go, Berkey enjoys watching Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. He appreciates Manning’s ability to succeed through confidence, precision passing, knowledge of the offense, and general awareness for the game, while not relying on sheer athleticism to get him through. Berkey would like to say the same about his playing style; although at this stage, Berkey would probably have Manning beat on a 40-yard dash.

Just over half the age of the father-aged Manning, teammates like to chide Berkey as a bit older than his college aged self.

“We have a big running joke going that he has the perfect dad body going on right now,” said Coy jokingly. “That’s what most of the team knows him as, ‘dad bod Berkey.”

Dad-bod or not, any quarterback will take a perfect 3-0 season start.

Berkey will be back in action on October 4 as the Storm take on Buena Vista University in their first conference game of the season.