CHICAGO, Ill. - A week after setting a school record for passing yards at Carthage, the Augustana offense sputtered slightly on Saturday. However, another solid performance by the Viking defense was enough to ensure the team's 39th consecutive win over North Park, 21-0 at the Holmgren Athletic Complex in Chicago.
The Viking defense limited the hosts to just 154 total yards (93 rushing and 61 passing) in the contest and forced three North Park turnovers. Linebackers John Mago (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) and Joe Weber (Marmion Academy, South Elgin, Ill) again led the way. Mago was in on a team-high 11 stops, while Weber recorded nine total tackles including a pair of sacks, giving him a team high of eight on the year.
With the Augustana running game depleted by injuries to three of its top four backs, the load fell entirely on senior Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.), who responded with 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22 carries. He put Augustana on top with a 20-yard scoring burst with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter. That capped a four-play, 63-yard drive which also included a 30-yard connection between quarterback David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) and wide receiver Zach McCullough (St. Charles North HS, St. Charles, Ill.).
The same combination accounted for the second Augustana score when Lee and McCullough teamed up for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 10:18 left in the half. That play finished off a six-play, 67-yard drive. North Park's only real scoring threat in the first half ended when Augustana blocked Anthony Kebede's 42-yard field goal attempt with 24 seconds left in the half.
After stopping the Vikings on downs midway through the third quarter, North Park drove to the Augustana 32-yard line. But on third-and-11, Mitch McGilliard (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) intercepted a Tyler Krebs pass to end the threat.
Rob Mago's (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) third interception in the last two games set up Augustana's final score. Taking over at their own 29, the Vikings went 71 yards in just four plays with Wood finishing it off from four yards out with 10:11 remaining in the game. The key play on the march was a 55-yard Lee-to-Corbett Ball (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) completion.
North Park drove to the Augustana 30 with just under four minutes remaining, but freshman Kyle Voda (Plainfield South HS, Plainfield, Ill.) sacked quarterback Evan Rhoads, stripping him of the ball and recovering the fumble himself to put the finishing touches on the Vikings' fifth consecutive road win.
After throwing for a school-record 429 yards at Carthage last week, Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) finished the game with 11 completions in 24 attempts for 175 yards and one touchdown. He didn't throw an interception and now has a 15-to-three touchdown-to-interception ratio for the season.
The Vikings, now 5-2 on the year and in sole possession of third place in the CCIW at 3-1, will try and get their first home win of the season when they host the Wheaton Thunder on Saturday, October 30. Game time at Ericson Field is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.