|Taylor Rogers had 111
receiving yards in the fourth quarter alone for
Simpson athletics photo
Special teams have risen to the occasion for Simpson when playing Iowa Conference foe Wartburg. For the second consecutive year, the Storm won by the slimmest of margins by virtue of a blocked extra point. Ben Borland tipped the kick by Wartburg's Frank Loconti with 37 seconds left in the game to win 20-19.
Last year, the Storm nipped the Knights 38-37 in overtime.
"Certainly last year was out there in our kids' minds," Simpson coach Jim Glogowski said. "If you feel you can do something once, you can do it again."
Despite the sense of finality, the game wasn't over just yet.
Wartburg kicked an onside kick and Simpson recovered with 35 seconds left and a first down would clinch the game. It didn't happen.
The Knights had all three timeouts remaining and held Simpson to a three-and-out, forcing the Storm to punt with 25 seconds left. The Knights started on their 41 with 22 seconds left. After one play that got them to the 48, the Knights tried a curl, hook and ladder option. The Knights were able to advance to the 15 before finally getting tackled to end the game.
"It was an absolute circus at the end," Glogowski said.
Maybe a fortunate bounce or two for the Storm?
"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity," Glogowski said.
The Storm trailed 13-6 going into the fourth and had a big quarter by quarterback Taylor Nelson who completed 14 of 22 passes. Nelson finished 29-of-51 passing for 439 yards and three touchdowns and was picked off three times as well.
"(Nelson) had the ability to take advantage of some deep shots," Glogowski said. "Our players stepped up when they had to."
Simpson (1-0) looks to keep forging ahead as it battles rival Central in an Iowa Conference showdown Saturday.
"I think we've got a veteran team and I expect them to come out focused and move on to the next game," Glogowski said.
Week 6 usually isn't an elimination game for the playoffs. Redlands finds themselves in that situation after dropping the first two non-conference games this season.
"Every game is a must win because it is all conference the rest of the way," Redlands coach Mike Maynard said. "We know what we got to do. We've got to win out."
The Bulldogs host No. 8 Cal Lutheran Saturday in a SCIAC showdown between the top two teams of the past two seasons. Cal Lutheran, is a three-time league winner edged Redlands 28-24 last season after the Bulldogs got off to a 24-0 lead at halftime. The Kingsmen finished the season undefeated and earned the automatic playoff berth, Redlands made the playoffs and ended the conference season with just one loss.
"We couldn't hold them," Maynard said. "They have a really good team and a really good coach. They really surged and we couldn't control them."
Maynard, who has been at Redlands for 25 seasons, knows his team is in for a big challenge Saturday.
"Since I have been here, I don't remember a team that is good as this one," Maynard said of Cal Lutheran. "What I am most impressed with is not just their offense, but their entire team."
The common denominator in the Bulldogs' two losses have been miscues. Redlands committed five turnovers in a 42-16 opening season loss to North Central and four in a 28-14 loss to Pacific Lutheran.
"I'm hoping we're done with that," Maynard said.
Redlands had a much improved performance against Occidental in a 49-7 win. The Bulldogs piled up 630 yards of offense and did not turn the ball over. Quarterback Chad Hurst, who was out with an injury the previous week returned to complete 20 of 35 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed five times for 37 yards and a touchdown.
"He gets better every week," Maynard said. "He's the key. If he plays well for us then we're going to do pretty well."
Hurst and the other Bulldogs will also have to be at their best to give the team an opportunity at a SCIAC crown, the only ticket to the playoffs.
"You can't beat yourself," Maynard said. "You can’t give them turnovers and penalties."
Point differential in the last two games for No. 3 Linfield. The Wildcats escaped Northwest Conference rival Pacific Lutheran 31-24 Saturday. Linfield had two touchdown deficits twice in the first half. The previous game, Linfield nipped Cal Lutheran 33-30.