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December 23, 2005 - The Sioux City Bandits announce the signing of the first group of players for the 2006 season. This group consists of seven former Morningside College standouts. Included in this group are five players that just completed their careers for the NAIA 3rd ranked team in the final poll of the season. The Mustangs were the GPAC champions with a record of 10-0. They finished their season in the semi-final game of the NAIA national playoffs losing to St. Francis of Indiana, finishing their season with a record of 12-1. Historically, 2005 was the best season Morningside has ever had.

Signing on are:

Kyle Ortegren (Wide Receiver, 5’10” 195 lbs) Ortegren, a two-time NAIA All-American, is Morningside’s all-time leader with 2,976 career pass reception yards. He is also a record holder in career receptions with 219. Ortegren is Morningside’s all-time leader with 51 career kickoff returns and 1,105 career kickoff return yards. He received the Mustang of the Year Award based on character and although he missed a majority of the season with a knee injury, Ortegren still earned All-GPAC honorable mention honors. Ortegren is a 2001 graduate of Oskaloosa High school in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Cory Wirth (Fullback, 6’3” 230 lbs) Wirth, a three-year letter winner, ranks fourth in Morningside history with 142 career receptions and third with 1,723 career reception yards. He received the Morningside Outstanding Offensive Back Award for the 2005 season and received First Team All-GPAC honors for his second year in a row. Wirth is a 2002 graduate of Fremont Mills High School in Tabor, IA where he earned first-team Des Moines Register Class A all-state honors as a place-kicker.

Mike Winklepleck (Defensive Back, 5’10” 190 lbs) Winklepleck, was a four year starter for the Mustang defense. He ranked fourth in 2005 on the Mustangs’ tackle chart with 27 solo stops and 32 assists for 59 total tackles. He had five tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 12 yards, six pass breakups, three interceptions, 1.5 quarterback sacks, and one fumble recovery. He is Morningside’s all-time interception leader with 20. Last year he received second-team NAIA All-American honors. Winklepleck is a 2001 graduate of Sioux City Heelan. He was named the Sioux City Journal’s 2001 Male Metro Athlete of the Year after starring for Heelan’s football, wrestling, baseball, and track and field teams.

John Zevenbergen (Defensive Back, 6’2” 190 lbs) Zevenbergen, a four year starter at the cornerback position, holds a school-record with 16 pass breakups this season. He is also Morningside’s all-time leader with 40 total pass breakups. He received the Morningside Outstanding Defensive Back award for the 2005 season as well as All-GPAC honorable mention honors. Zevenbergen is a 2002 graduate of Hinton High School where he earned fourth-team Sioux City Journal All-Northwest Iowa honors as a quarterback his senior year.

Adam Lloyd (Defensive Back/Linebacker, 6’1” 225 lbs) Lloyd is in his second year playing for the Bandits and also played at Morningside. Lloyd played in 13 games last season. He had 46 solos and 46 assisted for a total of 69 tackles, 11 of them resulting in tackles for loss. Lloyd also had three fumble recoveries and one interception in which he returned for a touch down. Adam was chosen as the Bandits top defensive player at the end of the 2004 season by the coaching staff. Head Coach, Jose Jefferson had this to say about Lloyd, “Adam, once he became healthy, was game in and game out our most consistent defensive player. Undersized as a linebacker, he played much larger than his 215 pounds. His instincts and knowledge of the game were invaluable for our coaching staff.” Lloyd is a native of Moville, Iowa.

Spetlar Tonga (Linebacker, 6’0” 230 lbs) Tonga is in his third season with the Bandits. Previous to playing with the Bandits, Tonga also played at Morningside. He played in 7 games last year with 17 solos and 37 assisted giving him 35.5 total tackles, with one tackle for loss before his season ended early with a knee injury. Tonga lives here in Sioux City and helped coach the Briar Cliff football team during the 2005 season.

The 2006 Bandits Season Schedule is outlined below. Sioux City opens the season on the road against Fort Wayne who had the best record in the regular season in 2005. This season there is only one bye week compared to three the previous years.

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