Wheaton, Ill. - The Wheaton football team registered 52 points in the first half on Saturday night, en route to a 52-7 victory at home against North Park (2-4/0-3 CCIW). Wheaton is now 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in CCIW play. Wheaton is ranked 17th in the D3football.com Top-25. The Thunder will host Carthage next Saturday in a 6 PM kickoff at McCully Stadium.
Quarterback Jordan Roberts completed 16 of his 23 passing attempts for 200 yards and he ran for another 32 yards. Senior Brady Wright was Wheaton's leading rusher with 14 carries for 88 yards. Sophomore Peter Jarrett carried the ball eight times for 59 yards with a touchdown run. Senior Freddy Ellis caught eight passes for 75 yards.
Junior linebackers Jordan Chapman and Austin Driggers each made 10 total tackles in the game. Chapman, and Cory Hart each registered solo sacks for the Thunder defense that made 11 tackles for lost yardage. The Thunder defense scored three touchdowns in the win, as defensive lineman JD East returned an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Safety Brian McMullen also recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
Wheaton kicker Scott Roche kicked a 33-yard field goal to cap the opening drive of the game as he gave Wheaton a 3-0 lead with 12:30 remaining in the first quarter. On the second play of North Park's first drive of the game, the Vikings fumbled the ball which was scooped up by East who scampered into the end zone for a 27-yard return of the fumble recovery. East's touchdown gave Wheaton a 10-0 lead with 11:38 left in the first quarter. North Park went three-and-out on its next drive and Wheaton countered with a 71-yard drive that lasted eight plays, culminating with a five-yard touchdown run by Jarrett to extend the Thunder lead to 17-0 with 5:49 left in the opening quarter. After the Thunder defense stymied the Viking offense on the ensuing drive, Wheaton punt returned Tyler Langs returned a punt 25 yards to the North Park 21-yard line. Langs' punt setup a nine-yard touchdown run by Joey Skogen three plays later as Wheaton held a 24-0 lead with 2:57 to play in the first quarter.
On Wheaton's next drive, Roberts reached the end zone on a six-yard touchdown run to increase the hosts' lead to 31-0 with 14:40 left in the second quarter. On the second play of the ensuing North Park drive, Chapman registered a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by McMullen who returned it nine yards for a touchdown. On the following Viking drive, East intercepted a pass and returned 47 yards for a touchdown to increase the Wheaton lead to 45-0 with 8:08 left in the first half. Wheaton's final score of the game came with 3:49 left in the first half, when Micah Markley returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown. Markley's touchdown put Wheaton up to a 52-0 lead at halftime.
North Park scored with 9:59 remaining in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Evan Rhoads.