Slow start, missed opportunities hamper Storm against Central
INDIANOLA, Iowa - Nate Snead racked up 368 total yards and accounted for three touchdowns, Simpson failed to convert four times in the redzone and Central beat the Storm 37-14 in the season finale Saturday at Buxton Stadium.
Snead ran for 188 yards and threw for 180 for the Dutch (7-3, 6-2 Iowa Conference). The senior scored on runs of 5 and 70 yards and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Preston West.
The Storm (5-5, 5-3) converted on 2 of 6 opportunities in the red zone, failed to come away with points on three trips inside the Central 5 and couldn't come back after spotting Central 21 points in the first half.
"We had some key opportunities early in the game," head coach Jim Glogowski said. "We had a chance to put it in the endzone and turned it over, later on we had a field goal blocked and we had some key penalties that really hurt us. That's obviouslly not going to bode well for you."
Touchdown runs from Ross Doehrmann, Snead and Josh Osborn gave Central a 21-0 lead with 7:31 left in the first half.
The Storm responded to Central's first score with a 14-play, 74-yard drive that placed the ball at the 2-yard line after a highlight-reel catch by Taylor Rogers. But a Michael Chia fumble on the next play allowed Central to mount a 99-yard scoring drive and build a 14-0 lead.
Simpson woke up late in the second half, mounting two quick scoring drives. Taylor Nelson and Brad Vogel hooked up for a 16-yard score and, after a three-and-out by the defense, Nelson threaded the needle on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Ben Coy with 15 seconds left in the first half.
Nelson threw for 334 yards, going 36-for-50 with no interceptions. Rogers made nine catches for 88 yards, and Coy, a senior, made a career-high nine catches for 116 yards in his final game.
In all, 25 seniors donned the red and gold for the final time in their careers.
"It's tough to see these guys go," Glogowski said of the seniors. "They have been a big part of our program and were a part of the first recruiting class our staff had four years ago. It would have been great to send them out on a win but they've done a tremendous amount of work the last few years and today was indicative of that - they played until the final horn."
Linebacker Mark Cronin broke up a third-down pass attempt by Snead on the first drive of the second half, forcing a punt. A 50-yard pass from Nelson to Vogel on the ensuing drive put the ball at the 7, but a 20-yard field goal attempt by James Gale was blocked. Three plays later, Snead ran past the defense on his way to a 70-yard score, giving Central a 27-14 advantage and effectively taking the wind out of Simpson's sails.
"We had some opportunites to stay close, but a couple of times in the redzone we didn't get any points," Glogowski said. "When you do those things you shoot yourself in the foot and don't give yourself a chance to be successful."
Simpson's next drive halted after an incomplete pass on fourth down, wasting a 46-yard kickoff return by Vogel.
Vogel made seven catches for 88 yards, his most receptions since coming down with nine agaisnt St. Olaf the second week of the season.
Simpson experienced a three-game improvement from 2010 to 2011. After an 0-3 start, Simpson won five of its last seven, including a 38-37 overtime win on the road against nationally-ranked Wartburg.
"The last six weeks have been great," Glogowski said. "We played in some big games, won on the road and had a shutout. As a football team we got better week in and week out and that's all you can ask."
Notes: 25 seniors played their final games for Simpson: Eric Addy, Matt Andreassen, Justin Bolkema, Colton Calvert, Ben Coy, Sam Elsner, Braden Everding, Javan Freyenberger, James Gale, Jake Harre, Rory Hennessy, Ty Larsen, Kaleb Livingston, Ethan Logsdon, Keith McCarthy, Alex McCarty, Cameron Oviatt, Jarrod Schott, Michael Smith, Joe Sorenson, Jim Stessman, Brian Tjossem, Corey Vannausdle, Josh Wardenburg and Devin Yeager will all graduate ... Simpson hasn't beaten Central in Indianola since 1996 ... placekicker James Gale closed his career as the third-highest scoring kicker with 129 points.