WAVERLY, Iowa — Ryan Lehr intercepted two passes to lead a gritty defensive effort but the Simpson football team couldn't find the end zone, losing to Wartburg 20-6 on homecoming at Walston-Hoover Stadium on Saturday.
Simpson had the ball trailing 13-6 in the fourth quarter before Wartburg intercepted Caleb Frye and drove 84 yards for a touchdown, dashing the Storm's comeback hopes with less than a minute to play.
"The guys played hard today, we just weren't able to capitalize in the redzone with touchdowns," head coach Matt Jeter said. "After the first drive, the defense settled in and kept them off the scoreboard until the last drive when we needed to get off the field. We have to do a better job of protecting the football and play more consistent over four quarters."
Connor Schrader ran for 118 yards and and a touchdown for the Knights (4-2, 3-1 Iowa Conference), who scored a touchdown on their first drive of the game and not again until the 1:03 mark in the fourth quarter. Matt Sacia scored the game's first TD on a sneak and Schrader plunged in from two yards out to seal the win.
Frye threw for 262 yards and Jackson Redmond caught six passes for 84 yards for the Storm (2-4, 1-3), who were forced to take to the air, managing just 31 yards on the ground. Frye went 19-for-39 with three interceptions.
Lehr's second interception created the Storm's first scoring opportunity. He picked off Sacia, added a 35-yard return and gave Simpson the ball with 6 seconds left in the first half. Frye hit Redmond on a 28-yard pitch-and-catch and Drew Jensen hit a 39-yard field goal as time expired, making the score 10-3 at the break.
Wartburg added a field goal in the third quarter and Simpson went three-and-out on its first three possessions of the half. The offense woke up in the fourth quarter, as Frye hit long passes to Matt Burrell and Devin Norman to get to the Wartburg 10. Jensen hit a 30-yard field goal to pull Simpson within a touchdown, 13-6.
The defense came up big on the ensuing drive as Jake Stearns forced a fumble. Simpson drove 29 yards into Knight territory before Connor Frerichs stepped in front of Frye's pass on third-and-10. The Knights put the game away with an eight-play, 84-yard drive that chewed up 4:44.
The Storm return home next Saturday, Oct. 22 to host Loras. The Duhawks (0-6, 0-4) were idle on Saturday. They lost to Wartburg 38-30 last week.
Wartburg improved to 44-26-2 in the all-time series with Simpson … Lehr had Simpson's first multi-interception game since Jeff Wilkins had two against Cornell in 2007 … both teams committed three turnovers … Jordan Beem was held to 23 yards on 14 carries, his lowest output since the third game of his freshman season.