INDIANOLA, Iowa -- The Simpson football team begins the 2019 season with a tough matchup on the road at No. 10 Bethel this Saturday. The Storm visit Royal Stadium for a 1 p.m. showdown in Arden Hills, Minn.
Both teams faced one another in week one a year ago, with the Royals prevailing, 41-29, inside Buxton Stadium.
For the fifth straight season, KNIA is the radio home of Storm football. The team of Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will have the call on 94.3 FM and 1320 AM or online at kniakrls.com. Fans can also download the KNIA app, available on iTunes and Google Play. Pregame coverage begins at 12:35 p.m.
FIRST AND 10: Simpson is looking to improve on its 7-3 mark from 2018 and to finish higher in the league standings … the Storm finished 6-2 in league play to tie for second, securing the program's most conference wins since 2003 … the team's seven wins equal the most since 2013.
BETHEL SERIES NOTES: Simpson and Bethel are meeting for the sixth time in a series that dates back to the 2006 season … the Royals own a 5-0 record over the Storm … both teams resumed the series last season after taking a six-year hiatus against one another.
ABOUT THE ROYALS: Bethel and 31st-year head coach Steven Johnson enter the year ranked No. 10 by D3football.com after ending 2018 ranked No. 7 in the polls … the Royals were picked to finish third in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this season on the heels of going 11-2 and 7-1 in league play in 2018 … Bethel reached the quarterfinals a year ago in the NCAA Playoffs for the fourth time in the past 12 seasons.
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!: Head coach Matt Jeter selected five players on the team to serve as captains this season, Sam Bartlett, Trey Chumbley, Brendan Holmes, Tanner Krueger and Joe Weppler will lead the charge this season … the group has played a combined 130 games during their careers for the Storm.
NEW FACES: The coaching staff has three new faces this season with Dan Kelley, Braedon Tovey and George Love joining the staff … Kelley is a 2013 Simpson alum and will serve as the offensive line coach … Kelley comes from Morningside College, where he spent the last four seasons working with the offensive line … Tovey is a 2016 Simpson graduate and oversees the special teams for the Storm … Love arrives from Angelo State after working with the special teams and linebacker groups … Love will be the team's defensive coordinator.
ALL-AMERICAN: Senior safety Brendan Holmes was selected as a D3football.com Preseason All-America Third Team member … the honor is listed on a page of accolades for Holmes who has been previously recognized by D3football.com as an All-West Region Third Teamer on two occasions … he recorded 89 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and five interceptions in 2018 to help the Storm's defense finish first in American Rivers Conference play with 19.6 points allowed per contest … Holmes is currently second all-time in team history with 276 career tackles, just 63 tackles shy of tying the record that was set by Jarrod Young, who had 339 during the 1993-96 seasons.
ALL-CONFERENCE: From a squad that had 12 all-conference selections in 2018, five return to the field in 2019 … linebacker Michael Connor is back after earning the American Rivers Conference Defensive Most Valuable Player honors, Trey Chumbley and linebacker Joe Weppler are back after their second team nods, Tanner Krueger was an honorable mention selection at quarterback and Holmes was selected to the first team.
WHO'S IN THE BACKFIELD?: The Storm look to replace Cam Bunting in the backfield, who rushed for a league-best 1,396 yards a year ago and paced the league with 13 scores as well … Joe Meyer looks to fill the void after racking up 193 yards in 2018 … Noah Bruckner enters his sophomore season hoping to attract some carries … freshman Desmond Alexander may have his name called early in the season to help carry the load on the heels of a productive team camp.
ON THE ROAD: Simpson found success on the road last season by going 4-1, compared to a 3-2 record at Buxton Stadium … the lone mishap happened on Oct. 13 at Central in a 17-16 battle … the team outscored its opponents 157-77 and produced one shutout at Chicago.