Lehnen to Hardy, Cusumano’s Great Read, Buzzer-Beating Field Goal

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On this week’s edition of Check the Tape, Alex and Coach Spencer took a look at three crucial plays from the Cardinals’ big win over Wheaton.

The most common combination on offense for North Central was Lehnen to Hardy, as sophomore quarterback Luke found junior wide receiver DeAngelo eight times in the game. But none was more impressive than a 38-yard touchdown pass, when Lehnen displayed pinpoint accuracy and Hardy out-jumped double coverage to grab six points for the Cardinals.

“DeAngelo did a great job on this route and Luke put it right where he needed to,” said Spencer. “He ended up splitting the coverage, which was different than what we expected. Luke saw it, adjusted, and put the ball where DeAngelo could go get it, and he did what he does and made a great play.”

Next is one of two Cardinals interceptions on the night, their second by sophomore linebacker Angelo Cusumano, who did a great job of reading the eyes of Wheaton quarterback Will Bowers to anticipate where the ball was going before it was thrown.

“He did a great job adjusting,” Spencer said. “It was really great to see him make that play. He’s been in positions over the previous three games to make some big plays and a couple of them he just missed. So to see him make a play in the biggest game so far this year and in a moment where they’re driving in to score it was great to see him do that.”

Finally, the end of the first half is worth revisiting. After recovering a fumble from a muffed put, the Cardinals took over with only 18 seconds to go. After a pass from Lehnen to Jacob Paradee kept the clock running, the field goal unit got on the field just in time to get the snap off and for Tanner Rains to make the field goal with no time left.

“We felt we were going to have enough time to get this field goal off,” Spencer said, adding that the field goal team was in position to sprint on the field as soon as they could. “We knew if we were around 10 or 11 seconds we had enough time to get our field goal team on. It’s something we practice every single week so as a staff you have a pretty good idea of how long it takes and how much time Tanner needs to feel comfortable. We got a break with it going in off the upright, but we’ll take it. Sometimes you need that in big games.”