Venteicher, Holmes, Stearns lead 11 Storm All-IIAC selections

Tanner Venteicher
Tanner Venteicher

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Simpson senior center Tanner Venteicher, sophomore safety Brendan Holmes and senior defensive end Jake Stearns earned All-Iowa Conference First Team honors to lead a group of 11 Storm football players named to the 2017 All-Iowa Conference Team, as voted on by the league's nine head coaches.

Junior running back Cam Bunting, senior tight end Braden Meints, senior wide receiver Jackson Redmond, sophomore safety Ryan Lehr and junior linebacker Ryan Sarver all earned second team honors. Junior linebacker Michael Connor, senior placekicker Drew Jensen and senior quarterback Sam Sasso were honorable mention picks.

Here's a closer look at Simpson's all-conference picks:

Tanner Venteicher — Senior, Center, 1st Team
Venteicher anchored the Storm's offensive line, which featured a 1,000-yard rusher and a 2,500-yard passer. The Glidden, Iowa native started all 10 games for the Storm without allowing a quarterback sack. He graded out at a 95 percent for the season.

Brendan Holmes — Sophomore, Safety, 1st Team
Holmes tied for second in the league with six interceptions, getting two in the final game of the season to pass Lehr for the team lead. The Atlantic, Iowa native was second on the team with 89 tackles, adding three tackles for loss, a forced fumble and three pass breakups. His 0.6 interceptions per game were 19th in Division III.

Jake Stearns — Senior, Defensive End, 1st Team
A second team All-IIAC selection in 2016, Stearns moved from tackle to end in 2017 and led the league with 14 tackles for loss. The Knoxville, Iowa native finished second in the conference with 7.5 sacks and made 70 total tackles.

Cam Bunting — Junior, Running Back, 2nd Team
Bunting led a resurgent Simpson ground game, surpassing 100 yards rushing in six of the final seven games to become the 11th player in school history to gain 1,000 yards in a season. The Indianola, Iowa native finished with 1,049 yards and 11 touchdowns, both good for fourth in the league. His 86-yard TD run against Nebraska Wesleyan is the second-longest run from scrimmage in school history.

Braden Meints — Senior, Running Back/Tight End, 2nd Team
A jack-of-all trades throughout his career, Meints did a little bit of everything for the Storm in 2017. Beginning the season as a running back, he transformed into a tight end/running back hybrid by season's end. The Garner, Iowa native made 30 receptions for 232 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 181 yards on 52 carries, averaged almost 39 yards on eight punts and tallied eight tackles on special teams.

Jackson Redmond — Senior, Wide Receiver, 2nd Team
Redmond was the Storm's go-to pass catcher, hauling in 74 receptions for 981 yards and seven touchdowns on the year. His 7.4 receptions per game led the Iowa Conference and ranked 19th in Division III. The Kansas City, Mo. native closed his career fifth in school history with 151 receptions and sixth in yards (2,046) and touchdowns (13).

Ryan Lehr — Sophomore, Safety, 2nd Team
Lehr joined Holmes to make up the best safety tandem in the Iowa Conference. The Indianola, Iowa native had five interceptions on the year and set a school record with 164 return yards, getting 98 on a pick-six in the Storm's 31-21 win at Loras on Saturday, Oct. 7. The 2016 honorable mention all-conference performer made 84 tackles and broke up seven passes.

Ryan Sarver — Junior, Linebacker, 2nd Team
An honorable mention pick a year ago, Sarver earned second team honors with a team-best 95 tackles, including seven tackles for loss and one sack from his linebacker position. The Albia, Iowa native also recovered two fumbles and made 10-or-more stops in five games throughout the season.

Michael Connor — Junior, Linebacker, HM
Connor made 83 tackles on the season and tied for second with 8.5 tackles for loss. The Woodward, Iowa native forced two fumbles and earned Iowa Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors after making a career-high 16 tackles in Simpson's 38-17 homecoming win over Luther on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Drew Jensen — Senior, Placekicker, HM
Jensen earned honorable mention honors for the third time in his career after making 41 of 42 PAT attempts and 7 of 11 field goals during the season. The Indianola, Iowa native closed his career as one of the best placekickers in school history, setting records for made field goals (31) and field goal percentage (79.5) while tying the mark for points by a kicker (196). He became just the fourth player in school history to surpass 100 made PATs, finishing with 103.

Sam Sasso — Senior, Quarterback, HM
If not for an injury that cost him a game-and-a-half, Sasso could have been in discussion for first team consideration. The Chandler, Ariz. native took full advantage of his first season as the starter, throwing for 2,574 yards and 23 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. His 23.8 completions per game ranked second in the IIAC and 18th in Division III. He earned Iowa Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors and landed a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week after going 27-for-37 for 340 yards and four TDs in a 38-33 win at Coe on Sept. 23. In all, he had four, four TD games and surpassed 300 yards five times.

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FIRST TEAM ALL-IIAC OFFENSE
Cal Smith, Sr., OL, CEN
Jacob Langenberg, Sr., OL, COE
Dalton Kuehl, Jr., OL, COE
Tanner Venteicher, Sr., OL, SIM
Derek Schipper, Sr., OL, WAR
Matt Sacia, Jr., QB, WAR
D. Allen Jr., So., RB, DBQ
Skaka Taylor, Jr., RB, NWU
Kyle Gritsch, Sr., TE, CEN
TJ Lint, Sr., WR, BVU
Sam Markham, Sr., WR, CEN
Riley Brockway, Sr., WR, WAR

FIRST TEAM ALL-IIAC DEFENSE
Michael Joseph, Sr., DB, DBQ
Brendan Holmes, So., DB, SIM
JoJo McNair, Fr., DB, WAR
Robbie Peters, Sr., DB, COE
Drew Heitland, Sr., DL, COE
Mitch Van Epps, Sr., DL, LUT
Jake Stearns, Sr., DL, SIM
Dillon Radamaker, Sr., DL, WAR
Tyler Olson, Sr., LB, CEN
Sam Norgaard, Sr., LB, CEN
Rob Rottler, Sr., LB, WAR
Tony Anstoetter, Sr., LB, WAR

FIRST TEAM ALL-IIAC SPECIALISTS
Walter Ollie, Jr., RS, LOR
Jon Alberts, So., PK, CEN
Tyler Bryant, Jr., P, CEN

SECOND TEAM ALL-IIAC OFFENSE
Josh Brunk, Sr., OL, CEN
Zak Ranshaw, Sr., OL, COE
Collin Stefanowski, Jr., OL, DBQ
Jacob LaMarche, Jr., OL, NWU
Hudson Johnston, Sr., OL, WAR
Cole Miller, Jr., QB, BVU
Jonathan Curti, SO., QB, NWU
Cam Bunting, Jr., RB, SIM
Dylan Binion, So., RB, WAR
Braden Meints, Sr., TE, SIM
Demetrius Harper, Sr., WR, COE
Jackson Redmond, Sr., WR, SIM

SECOND TEAM ALL-IIAC DEFENSE
Walter Ollie, Jr., DB, LOR
Dante Joseph, Jr., DB, LUT
Dakota Buss, Sr., DB, NWU
Ryan Lehr, So., DB, SIM
Peyton Imhoff, Jr., DB, WAR
Gary Weaver, So., DL, BVU
Doug Gates, Jr., DL, DBQ
Tyler Sorensen, Sr., DL, NWU
Troy Heick, Sr., DL, WAR
Brady Illg, Sr., LB, BVU
Le'Devin Smith, Sr., LB, DBQ
Ryan Sarver, Jr., LB, SIM

SECOND TEAM ALL-IIAC SPECIALISTS
Nick Slavens, Sr., RS, LUT
Mason Quigley, Sr., PK, LOR
Jake Pisarik, Sr., P, WAR

HONORABLE MENTION
Joe Thraen, Sr. OL, BVU
Tyler Obbereuter, Sr., TE, BVU
Eric Pacheco, Fr., RS, BVU
Justin Dilks, Sr., DL, CEN
Josh Scheible, Sr., LB, CEN
Blaine Hawkins, Fr., QB, CEN
Dalton Shadle, Sr., LB, COE
BJ Weepie, Sr., OL, COE
Derek Trotter, Sr., DB, DBQ
Bob Brophy, Sr., LB, LOR
Greg Cybulski, Sr., OL, LOR
Mason Quigley, Sr., P, LOR
Damon Stroup, Sr., DB, LUT
Nick Slavens, Sr., RB, LUT
Cody Wirth, Sr., P, LUT
Brady Letney, Sr., QB, LUT
Caleb Conway, Jr., TE, NWU
Michael Connor, Jr., LB, SIM
Drew Jensen, Sr., PK, SIM
Sam Sasso, Sr., QB, SIM
Chris Mcnutt, Sr., DB, WAR
Tyler Schager, Jr., OL, WAR
Tom Schiffer, Sr., OL, WAR
Griffin Brennecke, Sr., WR, WAR
JoJo McNair, Fr., RS, WAR

OFFENSIVE MVP
Matt Sacia, Jr., QB, WAR

DEFENSIVE MVP
Michael Joseph, Sr., DB, DBQ

COACH OF THE YEAR
Rick Willis, WAR

Holmes named all-region
December 15, 2017 Holmes named all-region