/notables/2008/for-carleton-walk-is-a-step-forward

For Carleton, Walk is a step forward

More news about: Carleton | St. Olaf
Carleton senior Nick Brom walks with the Goat Trophy down St. Olaf Ave. in Northfield, flanked by senior Chris Gardner, left, and junior Phil Blue.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3sports.com
By Pat Coleman
D3sports.com

NORTHFIELD, Minn. — It's a walk of just a mile and a quarter, yet it took Carleton 12 years to make.

The map would suggest it's fairly simple. Leave the stadium, take a left on St. Olaf Ave., right on Linden, down the hill, across Rte. 19, take Water St. across the Cannon River to Bridge Square.

It's what must be done to earn that walk that has eluded the Knights since 1996. The Walk is taken by the team that wins the Goat Trophy, which goes to the winner of the annual game between Northfield's two Division III schools: Carleton and St. Olaf.

The Eagle, which sits atop the war memorial in the town square, took a decided turn to the northeast on Saturday afternoon, and it was clear the Carleton football program had taken a turn for the better. It had been turned to face St. Olaf's campus after the Oles' 1997 win.

Even to this year's senior class, The Walk was barely more than a legend, a rumor passed down from generations before. In fact, there was discussion as to which way to turn when leaving the stadium. None had ever taken this journey, certainly not 70 strong, chanting, singing the Carleton alma mater and holding the trophy high over their heads, to show everyone in Northfield who rules college football in this town of 17,000.

Carleton fans lined the street along St. Olaf Ave., as the Knights players marched en masse from Manitou Field to the heart of town, taking photos, video, waving from their cars, cheering and honking. Seventy pairs of cleats clicked on the sidewalks. Families in the neighborhood stepped outside onto their front porches and watched the Maize and Blue, instead of the Black and Gold, walking down the street with the Goat Trophy. The team streamed across busy roads because, frankly, who was going to stop them?

For senior captain Mac McDonald the feeling was, "really, truly, unexplainable." McDonald and fellow senior defender John Hanks climbed the civil war memorial in front of a cheering throng of players, parents, students and fans to give the Eagle its requisite clockwise quarter-turn.

"Honestly, as a freshman, I didn't think it would happen," McDonald said, "and now look at it — look where it's pointing."

"I know if we were to pick one game to win it would be this one. Our players love it, this is what they wanted, they played their hearts out. We're very proud of them."

-- Carleton coach Kurt Ramler
The way in which Carleton won was somewhat stunning in and of itself. In 2007, Carleton jumped out to a 21-7 lead before St. Olaf poured it on, scoring 78 of the final 85 points to win 85-28. Was this year's 21-7 win more satisfying after how that game ended? "Yep," said Carleton coach Kurt Ramler, though he added, "Last year was last year. That was one game. This was big because it's the Carleton-Olaf rivalry, one we haven't gotten yet. It was nice for us to play well in this game and a it was game we deserved to win.

"It's big because it's a local rivalry, that's really big. I know if we were to pick one game to win it would be this one. Our players love it, this is what they wanted, they played their hearts out. We're very proud of them."

Carleton (4-0, 2-0 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, turning a St. Olaf fumble at midfield into a six-play drive, holding on a fourth down play at their 35-yard line, forcing three three-and-outs and intercepting a pass in the end zone to end the half. Although St. Olaf (3-2, 1-2) came out with a different look in the third quarter, lining running back Leon Clark up under center and getting in the end zone two plays later, Carleton didn't panic and finished off the 21-7 win.

"After last year, we came back a totally different team," McDonald explained. "We've come into every game knowing and believing that we can win the game. Our schemes are right, our players are right, we're just ready to go. It doesn't matter who it is, doesn't matter who we're playing. That's Carleton football, it's the way it should be."

"I think it's just most important to get a win, keep this run going, hopefully keep playing well the next couple of weeks," said senior quarterback Shane Henfling, who completed 25 of 32 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. "It's not really just another game, but you have to kind of look at it the same way."

Carleton turns the eagle
Carleton seniors Mac McDonald, left, and John Hanks turn Northfield's eagle to face the Carleton College campus.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3sports.com
For now, Carleton is tied for first in the MIAC standings, a bit of an unfamiliar spot for a school far more accustomed to being atop a different set of rankings. Carleton is one of the top schools in the country, listed at No. 8 in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of liberal arts colleges. "I really think we have the best combination of football and academics in the country," says Ramler. "We're the highest-ranked Division III school that plays a full 10-game Division III schedule with a chance to go to the playoffs." Several other schools in the Top 10 are members of the NESCAC, which restricts schools to eight football games and no postseason.

Recent years have been a struggle for Carleton, which went through a four-year stretch where it won a total of three games and hasn't had a winning season since 1993. But Ramler refuses to look at the school's high academic standards in anything but a positive light. "We don't recruit the kids that don't have the academic background. The kids that do love what we have to offer. It's not tough. We can compete against Ivies, we can compete against scholarships. We have one of the best educations in America. People look at it as a negative; I don't. We just don't recruit kids that aren't exemplary student-athletes."

If there was any threat of a down note to Carleton's afternoon, it would have been what came in the third quarter, when standout wide receiver Matt Frank left the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.

Frank caught 11 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter. Carleton didn't score again.

"We've been able to go to (Chris) Gardner or Frank based on how the defense plays us every game this year," Ramler said. "Without Matt it's different. We become a little bit more one-dimensional. But we've got some good players, some good young players on our team. Someone's going to step up."

And the team believes that. Just ask McDonald: "It's a belief and trust, trust in each other. We really trust each other now and believe we're going to win every game."

Carleton might not win every game. But at least the eagle is pointing in the right direction.
Oct. 14: All times Eastern
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Salve Regina 45, at Nichols 10
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Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
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at Thomas More 59, Waynesburg 7
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at Maine Maritime 34, Coast Guard 16
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at Finlandia 27, Trinity Bible 21
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Hamilton 28, at Bowdoin 7
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at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
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at Olivet 47, Albion 26
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at Wesleyan 41, Bates 23
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Union 27, at Rochester 0
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Amherst 40, at Colby 7
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at Western New England 41, Endicott 14
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at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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at RPI 27, Ithaca 14
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Hobart 49, at Hartwick 27
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at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
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at Carnegie Mellon 42, Geneva 27
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Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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DePauw 26, at Denison 17
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at Trine 42, Kalamazoo 7
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at Washington and Lee 47, Guilford 26
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at Husson 49, Castleton 0
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Gallaudet 35, at Alfred State 19
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at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Brevard 41, at Methodist 17
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at Lebanon Valley 31, Stevenson 24
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Buffalo State 24, at St. Lawrence 21
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at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
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at Randolph-Macon 52, Emory and Henry 29
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at Wesley 29, Kean 9
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at Hampden-Sydney 58, Apprentice 28
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Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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at N.C. Wesleyan 45, Greensboro 0
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at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Grove City 27
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Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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at Westminster (Mo.) 56, Crown 15
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 29, Iowa Wesleyan 7
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at Knox 56, Grinnell 14
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at Widener 31, Lycoming 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 23, at Tufts 16
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at Mount St. Joseph 66, Earlham 7
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Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
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Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
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at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
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at Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
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Defiance 45, at Anderson 0
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at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Hiram 62, at Kenyon 56
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Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
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at Westfield State 33, Fitchburg State 21
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Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
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at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
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Curry 40, at Becker 0
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TCNJ 20, at Rowan 14
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at SUNY-Maritime 51, Anna Maria 15
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Salisbury 28, at Montclair State 10
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at Huntingdon 28, Maryville (Tenn.) 16
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at Austin 33, Millsaps 19
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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at Washington U. 55, Buena Vista 20
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Alma 27, at Aurora 19
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at Rockford 29, Concordia-Chicago 14
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Wisconsin Lutheran 22, at Concordia (Wis.) 19
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at Lakeland 57, Benedictine 21
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at St. Norbert 10, Chicago 0
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Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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St. Olaf 22, at Augsburg 20
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Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
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St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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at Eureka 30, Greenville 19
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Centre 27, at Trinity (Texas) 21
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Dubuque 42, at Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Central 30, at Coe 19
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Lake Forest 56, at Cornell 28
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at Carthage 31, Elmhurst 8
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at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Millikin 28, at Augustana 27
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Ripon 52, at Beloit 28
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MacMurray 49, at Minnesota-Morris 13
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Macalester 21, at Lawrence 18
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at Monmouth 59, Illinois College 14
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at UW-Stevens Point 26, UW-Eau Claire 3
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Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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at Wooster 38, Oberlin 28
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Texas Lutheran 41, at East Texas Baptist 34
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at UW-Stout 21, UW-River Falls 16
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UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Sewanee 34, at Birmingham-Southern 13
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at Hope 22, Adrian 3
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Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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Cancelled
La Verne at Occidental
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Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
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at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
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at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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at Pacific 35, Puget Sound 27
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Pomona-Pitzer 45, at Whittier 23
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at Western Connecticut 28, Massachusetts Maritime 21
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at St. Scholastica 56, Martin Luther 21
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at St. John Fisher 39, Utica 36
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at Heidelberg 48, Otterbein 45
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at Shenandoah 38, Bridgewater 20
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Southwestern 60, at Belhaven 31
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Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
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at Louisiana College 52, McMurry 34
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at Simpson 38, Luther 17
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at Chapman 45, Redlands 26
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Oct. 16: All times Eastern
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
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Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
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Oct. 14: All times Eastern
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at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
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Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
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at Wesley 29, Kean 9
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Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
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Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
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Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
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Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
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