The Simpson football team looks to remain atop the American Rivers Conference standings when it hosts the Coe Kohawks on Saturday, Oct. 6 for the annual homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Buxton Stadium.
Fans unable to attend the game in person can watch in high definition online at SimpsonAthletics.com. Tim Lone and Coach Paul Davis will have the call. The game can also be heard on KNIA 95.3 FM—online at KNIAKRLS.com— where Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will have the call.
The Storm (3-1, 2-0) beat Wartburg 37-36 in overtime last week in Waverly, their third win in a row. The Kohawks (3-2, 2-1) beat Nebraska Wesleyan 40-28, their second win in a row.
FIRST AND 10: Simpson is off to its best start since going 3-0 to begin the 2014 season … a win Saturday would give the Storm their best start since also going 4-1 to begin the 2012 campaign … the Storm mounted a 98-yard scoring drive to tie Wartburg in the closing seconds of regulation before winning the game on a do-or-die 2-point conversion in overtime … Saturday is Homecoming at Simpson.
COE SERIES NOTES: Simpson and Coe are meeting for the 43rd time in a series that began in 1910 … the Kohakws lead the all-time series 26-15-1, but the teams have traded wins the last six seasons … Simpson beat Coe 38-33 last season in Cedar Rapids … the road team as won the last six games in the series … the last time the home team won was in 2011 when Coe beat Simpson 34-26 in Cedar Rapids.
ABOUT THE KOHAWKS: Coe is coming off of back-to-back American Rivers Conference wins, beating Buena Vista 35-14 on Sept. 22 and rolling Nebraska Wesleyan 40-28 last week … Coe owns the league's No. 2 total defense, allowing just 297.8 yards per game … the Kohawks have the No. 1 pass defense thanks in large part to junior Hunter Semelroth, who ranks 20th nationally with 1.8 passes defend per game … offensively Coe is led by twin brothers Quentin and Colton White … the quarterback, Quentin has thrown for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns while wide receiver Colton leads the team in receptions (31) and yards (325).
HOMECOMING NOTES: Simpson is 49-45-5 all-time on Homecoming ... last year's 38-17 win over Luther snapped a three-game, homecoming losing streak ... the Storm are 0-2 against Coe on Homecoming, losing 35-21 in 2014 and 12-3 in 2006.
LEADING THE A-R-C: Entering Saturday's game, Simpson leads the American Rivers Conference in four team and individual categories:
Punting — 36.1 net yards/punt
PLAYING BY THE RULES: Simpson is among the nation's best when it comes to playing clean football. The Storm rank eighth in the country in fewest penalties committed, getting flagged an average of four times per game. Simpson has accumulated just 172 penalty yards on the season.
VALUING THE FOOTBALL: Simpson ranks No. 1 in Division III in fewest fumbles lost. The Storm have yet to lose a fumble on the season, one of just 11 teams in the country who can make the claim. Among the best at securing the football is running back Cam Bunting, who has gone 321 carries without losing a fumble. His last lost fumble came on his sixth carry in the 2017 season-opener against Wis.-Stout.
CONFERENCE HONORS: Junior defensive back Ryan Lehr and junior quarterback Tanner Krueger became the latest Simpson players to earn American Rivers Conference Player of the Week honors for their efforts in Simpson's 37-36 win over Wartburg on Sept. 29. Lehr was named Defensive Player of the Week and Male Athlete of the Week after making 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and returning a blocked extra point 98 yards for two key points in the fourth quarter. Kreuger was named Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for a career-high 329 yards and four TDs against Wartburg.
Ryan Lehr, DB — Defensive Player of the Week/Male Athlete of the Week, 9.30.18 (Wartburg)
Tanner Krueger, QB — Offensive Player of the Week, 9.30.18 (Wartburg)
Michael Connor, LB — Defensive Player of the Week, 9.16.18 (Nebraska Wesleyan)
Nathan Hawkins, P — Special Teams Player of the Week, 9.16.18 (Nebraska Wesleyan)
BUNTING SUPERLATIVES: Since taking over as the Storm's starting running back at the beginning of the 2017 season, senior running back Cam Bunting has been one of the most reliable players for the Simpson offense. He has over 1,500 yards and 17 TDs during the span, not to mention a host of other noteworthy accomplishments.
Bunting has ...
...run for 100-plus yards in eight of the last 11 games, including two in 2018.
...scored a rushing TD in nine straight games dating back to the 2017 season.
...gone 321 straight carries without losing a fumble. His last lost fumble came on his sixth carry in the 2017 season-opener against Wis.-Stout.
MICHAEL CONNOR, MASTER OF DISRUPTION: The leading tackler in the American Rivers Conference, Michael Connor has a knack for disrupting opposing offenses. In every game this season, Connor has either recorded a sack, a tackle for loss, forced a fumble, intercepted a pass or broken up a pass. In Saturday's game at Wartburg he filled the stat sheet with 13 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an interception.
BIG PLAY JOE: Sophomore wide receiver Joe McNally has developed into the Storm's big-play threat in the passing game thanks to his 6-foot-4 frame, strong hands and great leaping ability. He leads the team with 350 receiving yards and four TDs, averaging almost 21 yards per catch. Of his 17 catches on the season, 13 have gone for either 15-plus yards or TDs. He has five catches of 30 yards or more.
SAFETY TANDEM PICKS OPPONENTS: Junior strong safety Ryan Lehr and junior free safety Brendan Holmes make up arguably the best pass defending duo in the conference. Lehr made two interceptions in the opener against Bethel and Holmes snagged one against Chicago, giving each nine career picks, good for sixth in school history. Prior to the Nebraska Wesleyan game, Simpson had gone four straight games with either Lehr or Holmes making an interception.
TURNOVERS TELL THE TALE: Winning the turnover battle is an emphasis for any football team, and Simpson is no different. In the two-plus seasons since Matt Jeter has taken over as head coach, Simpson has won the turnover battle eight times, going 7-1 in those games. Simpson has tied its opponents in turnovers nine times, going 4-5. And in the seven times Simpson has lost the turnover battle, the Storm are 0-7.