Sharmore Clarke and Nic Rummell

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Sharmore Clarke and Nic Rummell discuss North Central’s win over UW La Crosse, Clarke’s CCIW dominance, and Rummell’s remarkable interception.

Sharmore Clarke might be the best lineman the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin has ever seen. He recently won the conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award for the third consecutive season, and is still the only person to ever receive the honor.

“It means a lot to be the only recipient of that award, especially consecutive years,” Clark said of his three-peat. “I’m hoping to get it named after me.”

The team had some extra time to enjoy its various accolades with the bye they were given with their first round matchup with Carnegie-Mellon being called off, but they didn’t lose focus on UW La Crosse as the next obstacle on the road to another championship.

“Everybody who’s in the playoff is a good team in some way,” said Nic Rummell of the team’s preparation for La Crosse and not overlooking any opponent. “Our guys responded well…and ended up coming out on top.”

One of La Crosse’s strengths is their interior defensive line, but the Cardinals didn’t pay that  reputation much mind in their offensive approach.

“Yeah they were a big front but we don’t see that as an excuse,” Clarke said of his unit’s role in the success of the running game, which racked up 291 ards on the ground.

The highlight in a game of good plays was Rummell’s 0ne-handed end zone interception, which he said was evidence of off-the-field work paying off.

“I kind of had a feeling I knew what kind of route he was going to run,” Rummell said, having taken notes from watching film. “I just stayed on his hip, looked back for the ball, stuck out my hand and ended up coming down with it.”

If the Cardinals are able to defeat RPI this weekend, it could setup a rematch with vaunted Mount Union, who the Cardinals defeated in the 2019 playoffs. But there’s still a game to be played before such a marquee matchup can become the focus.

“I think we all know who could be coming here next weekend,” said Rummell. “We definitely don’t want to overlook the opponent in front of us…we’re going to worry about next Saturday on Monday and go from there.”