Storm looking in: football at Central College Saturday

by Aaron Young

Repetition seems to be the key for this season’s Simpson Storm football team compared to last year‘s squad. One can only hope that the same result happens to be yet again Saturday in Pella.

The Storm (3-1, 1-0 IIAC) fell to the Dutch (2-2, 1-0 IIAC) last year 37-14 at home. The strong surging offense led by shining junior quarterback Taylor Nelson are looking to continue that déjà vu-type play they have shown the past two games. Blowing out Eureka College two weeks ago 54-0 and coming from behind to get the victory last Saturday against Wartburg College 20-19, it seems as if the Storm cannot be tamed.

Nelson is leading all IIAC QB’s in passing yards (1,463), touchdown passes (13), and yards thrown per game (365.8). However, the junior is third on the list for interceptions thrown (5).

Fortunately, right behind Nelson on the list of picks thrown is Central College’s own starting quarterback Jack Flaherty, with four interceptions. The senior, who stands a 5-foot, 11 inches, has thrown just 46 passes this season with two touchdowns and a total 341 yards. Flaherty has been splitting his duties at the drop back position with sophomore Aaron Eisler. Eisler has only attempted 24 passes, completing 14 of them for 205 yards with no touchdown passes yet in the season.

Simpson is outnumbering Central passing the ball through the air by a long shot, averaging 367.8 yards per game while the Dutch are just mustering 145.2 yards.

Receiving a good majority of Nelson’s passes have been senior wide-receiver Taylor Rogers and junior wide-receiver Brad Vogel. Vogel has amassed team-high numbers in both receiving yards and touchdowns, with 524 yards and seven receptions leading to six points on the scoreboard. Rogers has been no slouch either, racking up similar numbers as the junior receiver, with 457 receiving yards of his own and five touchdown grabs.

On the flipside, Central College has the storm beat in the rushing department. The Dutch are averaging 221.8 yards rushing, scoring nine total touchdowns running the ball. Sophomore Josh Osborn will likely get the nod at the starting spot at running back as he has he has ran for 337 yards with two TD runs. Other key notables in the rushing game for the Dutch have been duo running backs, senior Ross Doehrmann and junior De’Andre Currie. Doerhmann has rushed for 207 yards with Currie running the ball for 175 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively and by the statistics, Simpson has a slight edge thus far in stoppage for their opponents’ offense to get rolling. The Storm defense have allowed an average of 118.5 yards a game on the ground and an average of 230.8 yards a game in the air. Central, on the other hand, have allowed an average of 160.0 yards a game rushing and 254.2 yards a game with their passing defense, ranking dead last in the conference.

Central’s three main leading tacklers are senior linebacker Seth Carson, junior linebacker Mike Young and junior defensive back Jacob Edleman. Carson and Edleman both have 15 solo tackles, but Carson has the most tackles between the two, and on the team for that matter, with 28 and Edleman with 26. Young has been doing his part as well, with 14 solo tackles and 25 total tackles.

It should be a tight, competitive match-up between Simpson and Central. The Dutch are playing from a victory over the University of Dubuque last Saturday by score of 31-24. With their momentum, and Simpson’s grueling comeback win from behind which included a blocked PAT, the atmosphere and overall competitive nature of the contest Saturday should be at an all-time high.