North Central Faces a Fellow Undefeated
The number-one-ranked North Central football team traveled down Interstate 55 to St Louis and Washington University on Saturday for a battle of CCIW undefeateds, with both teams entering Francis Olympic Field 6-0 on the season and 5-0 in conference play. The winner would have one hand on the CCIW regular season championship plaque with three weeks of the season still remaining, and a victory for the Cardinals would also be their fifth straight over the Bears.
As usual, North Central’s offense looked to establish the run with senior running back Ethan Greenfield like on this 15 yard run to begin the game. He wouldn’t score, a rarity, but led the Cardinals with 129 yards on the ground. The opening offensive drive was finished off by a pass from sophomore quarterback Luke Lehnen to junior wide receiver DeAngelo Hardy, who scoops the ball off the turf to give North Central a 7-0 lead.
On their second offensive series, Lehnen finds senior tight end Alec Wolff over the middle for 22 yards. Later, an 18-yard run by senior running back Terrence Hill set the Cardinals up inside the WashU 10. After two Greenfield rushes got the Cardinals down to the 1, Lehnen takes care of the touchdown himself with what has become a trademark QB keeper in short yardage situations. 14-0 North Central at the end of the 1st Quarter.
Early in the second, the Bears looked to have a good chance to halve the Cardinal lead, but sophomore linebacker BJ Adamchik punches the ball out of the WashU receiver’s grasp and it’s recovered by junior cornerback Nic Rummell. The Cardinals have been excellent all season at capitalizing off turnovers and they do it again here. Lehnen finds Hardy, who runs away from the entire WashU defense at once and into the end zone for his second receiving touchdown of the day. 21-0 the visitors in front.
Second Half Success
The Bears had another chance to get on the board before the half but instead turned the ball over again. WashU quarterback Matt Rush overthrows his intended receiver and sophomore DB Zack Orr hauls in the pick, his third of the season. A fifth straight scoreless half for the Cardinals defense.
The Cardinals offense came out firing in the second half, as Lehnen airs it out for Hardy who leaps through the air to haul in his third touchdown of the day and ninth of the season. His second career game with three receiving touchdowns, and a 28-0 lead for North Central.
A Tanner Rains 24-yard field goal would be the only additional points, as the Cardinals defense continued to completely shut down any Bear attacks with the help of sacks from senior defensive end Dan Gilroy, junior defensive end Will Kettelkamp and senior linebacker Sam Taviani. It’s the first time since 1946 that North Central have shut out three consecutive opponents, and with the victory over previously undefeated WashU the Cardinals are three games away from a second straight undefeated regular season. The final score from The Gateway City: 31-0.