November 12, 2011

North Central Closes Regular Season with Shutout Win

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

The North Central College football team accomplished both of its objectives in Saturday's regular-season finale against North Park University, getting a large number of players into the lineup and coming away with a 35-0 victory over the Vikings at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.

The Cardinals (9-1, 7-0 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) clinched their second straight outright CCIW Championship and extended their winning streak in regular-season home games to 24 consecutive games. It was also North Central's 19th straight win over the Vikings.

"Today we wanted to have our number twos get a lot of reps just to make sure they're up to speed for the playoffs, and some guys were just a little too banged up to play today," said North Central head coach John Thorne. "This was a good way to rest them and keep them out of practice for a week.

"The boys have done a wonderful job and they really stuck together and worked very hard. I'm very proud of the team today."

The Cardinals moved in front on the game's first possession, driving 73 yards in seven plays. Tyler Dicken got the hosts on the board with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Bai Kabba with 11:55 on the clock in the first quarter. North Park (3-7, 0-7 CCIW) threatened to put together a scoring drive of its own late in the first period, but a 35-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Alex Pirela as time expired.

Taking possession at its own 20-yard line, North Central embarked on its second scoring drive of the day, running the ball seven times in an eight-play, 80-yard drive. Nick Kukuc capped off the possession with a 15-yard TD run and doubled the Cardinals' lead to 14-0 with 11:13 left in the first half.

Kukuc struck again on the Cardinals' next drive as well. On second down at the North Central 31, Kukuc spun away from a tackler at the line of scrimmage and sprinted down the left sideline, getting a key downfield block from Joe Antonacci on the way to a 69-yard touchdown run with 4:44 left until halftime.

"Overall the offense played well, there are still some things we need to work on just like every week," Kukuc said. "At first we had a slow start but ended up getting on a roll."

The Cardinals' final score of the first half came just before the break. Defensive back Stewart Charles picked off a North Park pass at the North Central 12 with just under a minute to play, and Dicken passed twice to Jeff Stolzenburg and got a 31-yard run from Kukuc before throwing an 11-yard scoring strike to Kyle Fiedorowicz with 21 seconds left.

The final touchdown of the day came from the Cardinals' defense on the first drive of the third period. North Central's Connor Douglas scooped up a fumbled option pitch at the North Park 40-yard line and ran untouched to the end zone. Douglas also intercepted two passes in the second half to preserve the Cardinals' shutout.

"I just went out and played like we practice," Douglas said. "As a secondary, we made sure we were pass-first and just stuck to the game plan and it turned out well.  We really rely on the philosophy of 'bend, don't break' and I just felt like if they were going to throw it to my side I had to make a play or help someone else make a play by staying in coverage."

Kukuc gained a game-high 154 yards on just 10 carries for North Central, while Mike Boettcher ran 11 times for 57 yards. Dicken completed 9 of 15 passes for 153 yards, and Kabba was the Cardinals' top receiver with 56 yards on two catches. Pirela paced the defense with a career-high 11 tackles, while Tharryn Wright, Peter Mann and Jim Clendenning each had nine.

Pairings and host sites for the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division III Football Championship will be announced Sunday at 5 p.m. at ncaa.com.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
Kean at Christopher Newport
TBA
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
TBA
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
TBA
Marietta at Denison
TBA
McDaniel at Catholic
TBA
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos