The 2013 Simpson football team will be remembered as one of the most exciting in school history.
In the process, the Storm came oh-so-close to capturing the Iowa Conference title, finishing in sole possession of second place.
There were thrills aplenty as head coach Jim Glogowski’s team kept fans on the edge of their seats en route to a 7-3 mark and a 5-2 record in the Iowa Conference.
The seven wins were the most by a Simpson team since 2008, Glogowski’s first year at the helm.
What made the season so memorable was the team’s flair for the dramatic. Simpson won 5 of 7 games after trailing or being tied in the fourth quarter or overtime, and it did so in a variety of ways.
The defense buckled down in a 14-10, grind-it-out Homecoming win over Central College, and the offense produced big play after big play in a heart-stopping, 50-46 shootout win over the University of Dubuque.
Don’t forget the touchdown on 4th-and-goal with 22 seconds left that led to a 35-34 win over UW-River Falls. Or the overtime touchdown pass that resulted in a walk-off, 41-38 road win over Coe College, the preseason conference favorite.
There was something for everyone in a season that narrowly missed the program’s first conference title since 1997. Facing Buena Vista University in the next-to-last game of the season, Simpson came back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take a 32-28 lead with less than two minutes left. It looked as though the Storm would pull off yet another comeback win, until a last-second quarterback scramble gave the Beavers a 34-32 win, knocking Simpson out of first place.
In a true display of character and resolve, Simpson rallied from the deflating loss by going on the road and beating Luther College in the final game of the season to secure second place in the league standings.
Fittingly, the final win came down to the last two minutes. Iowa Conference Offensive MVP Taylor Nelson hooked up with first team all-conference receiver Brad Vogel on a 23-yard touchdown strike with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter to break a 21-21 tie en-route to a 28-21 win.
For good measure, they made sure it was 4th-and-10 before converting the winning score.
That was the way it went for a group of seniors who helped build the program up from the bottom.
Nelson, Vogel and their classmates limped through a 2-8 season as freshmen back in 2010. Things turned around in 2011 when the squad caught fire midseason, winning four of its last five to finish 5-5. That momentum carried over into 2012, as the team raced out to a 5-1 mark before finishing 6-4.
When all was said and done, the last four years saw Simpson transform from a team looking for ways to win, to a team finding ways to win.
“I’m proud of these kids. They are great kids,” Glogowski said of his team – and in particular, his seniors – after the final game of the season. “They bought into the program when there wasn’t much to buy into. They bought into a vision we had, and fortunately for us, they stuck in there, hung together and those 23 guys made a difference.”