Connor, Jeter headline football all-conference selections

Head coach Matt Jeter (left) earned American Rivers Coach of the Year honors and linebacker Michael Connor was named Defensive Player of the Year for the 2018 season.
Head coach Matt Jeter (left) earned American Rivers Coach of the Year honors and linebacker Michael Connor was named Defensive Player of the Year for the 2018 season.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Linebacker Michael Connor took home MVP honors, Matt Jeter was named Coach of the Year and Simpson placed 12 players on the American Rivers All-Conference Football Team, as voted on by the league's nine head coaches.

Senior running back Cam Bunting, senior punter Nathan Hawkins, senior safety Ryan Lehr and junior safety Brendan Holmes joined Connor on the American Rivers All-Conference First Team. Junior defensive end Trey Chumbley, senior offensive lineman Carter Henken, senior cornerback Prince Krah, junior linebacker Joe Weppler and senior offensive lineman Mathew Wingerson earned second team honors. Senior offensive lineman Zachary Griswold and junior quarterback Tanner Krueger were honorable mention picks.

The Storm went 7-3 in 2018 and finished tied for second in the league with a 6-2 mark. Picked fourth in the preseason coaches' poll, Simpson found itself in contention for a conference title until the second-to-last week of the season. Simpson was the only conference team to beat league champion and playoff participant, Wartburg.

Matt Jeter | Coach of the Year
• Guided the Storm to a 7-3 overall record and a 6-2 mark in conference play in third season as head coach
• Led Simpson to just the 20th, seven-win season in school history
• Has led a four-game turnaround since going 3-7 in first season on the sidelines
• Becomes the fourth conference coach of the year in school history and first since Jay Niemann in 2003
• Simpson ranked third in league play in total offense and total defense
• Just the 11th Coach of the Year to not come from the league champion since the conference began the award in 1968

Michael Connor | Defensive MVP, First Team, Linebacker
• Senior from Woodward, Iowa
• Finished the season with 113 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and one interception
• Led the league in tackles and sacks, becoming the first linebacker to lead the conference in sacks since 2014
• Becomes the sixth league MVP in school history and the first on the defensive side of the ball
• Tackle total is the most by a Storm player since 2007 and sack total is the most by a linebacker in school history
• Recorded either a sack, tackle for loss, forced fumble, interception or pass breakup in each game
• Named A-R-C Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16 (13 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1.5 TFLs vs. Neb. Wesleyan)
• Was an honorable mention all-conference pick in 2017

Cam Bunting | First Team, Running Back
• Senior from Indianola, Iowa
• Rushed for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 27 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns
• Led the American Rivers in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and scoring (90 points)
• Rushing total ranked seventh in Division III and is the fourth-highest single-season mark in school history
• Carried 317 times, the second-most in school history and 122 more than the next closest in the league
• Broke 100 yards rushing six times and went over 200 twice, including a career-high 254 in the season finale
• Ran for 2,449 yards during career, eighth-most in school history
• Didn't lose a fumble all season, closing career with 518 consecutive carries without a fumble
• Was a second team all-conference pick in 2017

Nathan Hawkins | First Team, Punter
• Senior from Solon, Iowa
• Averaged 40 yards on 53 punts, placing 21 inside the 20-yard line
• Led the American Rivers and ranked 10th in Division III in punting average
• Also led the conference with 21 punts inside the 20-yard line
• Named A-R-C Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 16 (46.6 yards on seven punts vs. Neb. Wesleyan)
• Set school record by averaging 42 yards per punt throughout career
• An honorable mention all-conference selection in 2016

Brendan Holmes | First Team, Defensive Back
• Junior free safety from Atlantic, Iowa
• Finished with 89 tackles, five interceptions, five pass breakups, 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks
• Led the team and tied for second in the American Rivers in interceptions
• Had two interceptions against Dubuque
• Returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown in Simpson's 56-7 win at Buena Vista
• Enters senior season fourth in school history with 12 career interceptions
• Also earned first team all-conference honors in 2017

Ryan Lehr | First Team, Defensive Back
• Senior strong safety from Indianola, Iowa
• Made 83 tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups, five tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries
• Finished third in the American Rivers with 15 passes defended
• Named A-R-C Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 30 (12 tackles, fumble recovery vs. Wartburg)
• Returned a blocked extra point 98 yards for two points in a 37-36 overtime win over Wartburg
• Closes career fifth in school history with 11 interceptions
• A second team all-conference pick in 2017

Trey Chumbley | Second Team, Defensive End
• Junior from Grimes, Iowa
• Made 50 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks
• Finished third on the team in tackles for loss and second in sacks
• Had a season-high 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks in a 29-7 win over Coe
• Enters senior season with nine career sacks

Carter Henken | Second Team, Offensive Line
• Senior from Crystal Lake, Iowa
• Helped the Storm offense to 439.4 yards per game, second in the A-R-C
• Simpson accumulated 350-plus rushing yards in two games
• Simpson allowed just 17 sacks during the season, third-fewest in the A-R-C
• Allowed just four sacks individually
• Paved the way for a second-straight 1,000-yard rusher

Prince Krah | Second Team, Defensive Back
• Senior cornerback from Des Moines, Iowa
• Made 49 tackles with 14 pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and 2.5 tackles for loss
• Finished second in the American Rivers in pass breakups
• Broke up a pass in all but two games, breaking up three each against Neb. Wesleyan and Luther
• Tied for second in school history with 30 career pass breakups

Joe Weppler | Second Team, Linebacker
• Junior from Sheldon, Iowa
• Made 61 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack
• Finished fourth on the team in tackles
• Had one sack and one tackle for loss in a 21-0 win at Chicago

Mathew Wingerson | Second Team, Offensive Line
• Senior from Gladstone, Mo.
• Helped the Storm offense to 439.4 yards per game, second in the A-R-C
• Simpson accumulated 350-plus rushing yards in two games
• Simpson allowed just 17 sacks during the season, third-fewest in the A-R-C
• Allowed just two sacks individually
• Paved the way for a second-straight 1,000-yard rusher

Zachary Griswold | Honorable Mention, Offensive Line
• Senior from Colorado Springs, Colo.
• Helped the Storm offense to 439.4 yards per game, second in the A-R-C
• Simpson accumulated 350-plus rushing yards in two games
• Simpson allowed just 17 sacks during the season, third-fewest in the A-R-C
• Paved the way for a second-straight 1,000-yard rusher

Tanner Krueger | Honorable Mention, Quarterback
• Junior from Waverly, Iowa
• Threw for 2,531 yards, 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 191-for-364 passing
• Ran for 213 yards and three touchdowns
• Finished second in the league in passing yards
• Threw for more than 200 yards in all but one game and had a touchdown pass in all but one game
• Went 19-for-29 for 268 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-7 win at Buena Vista on Nov. 10
• Named A-R-C Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 30 (23-52 for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns vs. Neb. Wesleyan)
• Just the fifth player in school history to throw for over 2,000 yards in a season

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