The North Central Cardinals made lots of big plays in their 76-6 victory over Elmhurst, and junior center Jarod Thornton and junior cornerback Nic Rummell always seem to be in the mix when things are going right for the Cardinals.
Rushing Yards and Interceptions
North Central rushed for 475 yards against the Blue Jays, the fourth most in program history, with Thornton and his fellow offensive lineman opening up huge gaps for their teammates to run through.
“It feels good to be part of the O-line,” Thornton said. “We’ve got a lot of dudes who run hard, that play hard, and they make our jobs a lot easier. We’ve just gotta get them past the line of scrimmage to the second level and they do their thing.”
Meanwhile, the Cardinals tied a program record with six interceptions on the day, including a Rummell pick-six, that added up to a very fun game for the defense.
“Saturday was a great game for our team, for our defense,” said Rummell. “The goal was to put on a great show for our fans for the first home game. Six interceptions is crazy it was a lot of fun. You could see on Jahron Williams’ first career interception I jumped super high in the air, I was super excited for him… and then with my interception, I don’t think that’s how Elmhurst drew that play up. The ball came directly to me, it felt like I was running the route for them. But if you look back at the clip that touchdown’s possible because of Sam Taviani. He made a great block that allowed me to get to the edge and put it in the end zone.”
Cheering on Teammates
Thornton, Rummell and their fellow starters got a break for most of the second half, which allowed them to enjoy the rest of the game as fans of their teammates who kept up the pace the starters had set.
“It’s fun because those guys work just as hard as we do,” said Thornton. “They go through the grind just as hard as we do so they deserve it and deserve to be out there getting the opportunity and making those plays.”
“We’re in meeting rooms and on the practice field every night with them, we see how hard they work,” Rummell added. “It’s hard not to get excited for them when you see all their hard work paying off.”
Consistency vs Change
The Cardinals offensive line had three new starters last year (Jeske Maples, Sam Pryor, Zach Fortier), but returns four out of five starters this year (with Sharmore Clarke graduating). For Jarod Thornton and the rest of the O-line group, that’s made the start to this year a bit easier.
“It’s been a lot better,” Thornton said. “Last year was tough at first because you have to build chemistry to play as a unit, five guys as one.”
As for Nic Rummell, he is the only returning starter from last year’s secondary after the graduations of Jake Beesley, Dakota Cremeens and Brayden Lindmark.
“It’s definitely a new leadership role I’ve had to step into being the only guy coming back,” Rummell said. “Having guys like Antwain Walker and Julian Bell who have college experience definitely makes it a bit easier. There was definitely adjustments and growing pains but I just hope those guys see me as someone they can turn to and I hope my play leads by example.”
What Does the Wheaton Game Mean?
Jarod Thornton: “It means everything. It’s why you come here to North Central to play on the national level. This is what you get up for. You think about all the dudes who came before you and what this game means to them, what this program means to them, and we feed off that because it means the world to us as well. We can’t wait.”
Nic Rummell: “It’s Coach Spencer’s first head coaching game against Wheaton so that’s on all of our minds that we want to get that done for him. With the amount of love and respect we have for him it would mean the world to get it done for him.”
Jarod Thornton Wants to be a Chef
First up on this week’s quick hits was if Jarod or Nic collect anything in parcitcular? Neither has anything they’ve been collecting recently, but when they were kids Jarod said he tried to collect every WWE action figure, while Nic made a point to get a game program at every college football game he attended (including a couple at North Central).
Question two was what movie they thought they’d seen the most times in their lives. Thornton, giving a classic football player answer, said ‘Remember the Titans,’ while Rummell said the original ‘Rocky’ because it’s his dad’s favorite movie.
Finally, what did they each want to be when they grew up? Rummell said he wanted to be a lawyer in large part due to his obsession with crime shows on TV, while Thornton said he wanted to be a chef and has somewhat followed through on that by developing a passion for cooking, particularly grilling.