On the season-debut of Check the Tape, five short touchdown runs, three versatile touchdowns from junior wide receiver DeAngelo Hardy, and big plays from new defensive backs highlighted North Central football’s 56-12 win over Wabash College.
Short Touchdown Runs
Senior running back Ethan Greenfield notched his ninth career game with three or more rushing touchdowns, with Jordan Chisum and Darius Byrd each adding a score of their own. The five scores totaled just seven yards of rushing, as at each opportunity the Cardinals finished a drive with a final punch into the end zone.
“We brought back four out of five starters on the offensive line and all four of our tight ends who played last year,” said head coach Brad Spencer of his team’s experience in the trenches. “With our ‘backs that are back and Luke’s ability to run the football we expect to rush the ball every single game and it’s certainly going to be where we start our game planning because it sets everything else up.”
DeAngelo Hardy’s Versatility Pays Off
Not to be outdone, junior wide receiver DeAngelo Hardy matched Greenfield with three touchdowns of his own. The first was a short catch that required him to swerve through the Wabash defense, the second was a rushing touchdown on a jet sweep, and the third saw him outjump a defender to snag a Luke Lehnen pass out of the air.
“We can line him up at receiver, running back, H-back, we can even line him up at quarterback,” said Spencer. “He’s certainly a guy we’re gonna target and try to get the ball in his hands. He had a great game and did a really fantastic job of stepping up with Andrew Kamienski graduating as our premier receiver.”
New Defensive Backs Step Up
The section of the Cardinals’ roster with the most turnover this offseason was the defensive backfield. Thus, much was always going to be asked of Northern Illinois University transfer Antwain Walker and Julian Bell, who returns to North Central after a year at Roosevelt University. Both met, if not exceeded, expectations against Wabash with some vital pass defense.
“I’m really excited about our defensive backs,” Spencer said. “It’s an extremely athletic, fast, and actually experienced defensive backfield. Some of their experience is at other schools at other levels, but they did a great job in our opening game and they’re only going to get better from here.”