North Central College Football went to Texas on December 20th and came back with the National Championship Trophy on December 21st. They were honored by the College this past week.
It was a champion’s welcome home on December 21st… less than 24 hours after the North Central football won the National Title over the University of Wisconsin-Waterwater. The shine on the program’s first championship has yet to dull for the Cardinals some three weeks later. As evident by the atmosphere on the night the college honored the team at halftime of the men’s basketball game.
It’s Still a Dream
Ethan Greenfield: Every since it happened it’s been super surreal, everything that has been going on you can never really put into words how amazing and how unreal it has been.
Ethan Greenfield is a sophomore at North Central… he also happened to win the Title game MVP honors on that fateful night in Texas. The running back isn’t alone in feeling like it’s still a dream.
Rick Strba: It still feels unreal – I still don’t think it has hit any of the seniors that we’re done playing football but it was a great way for us to go out. It’s awesome
Rick Strba was a fifth year senior, battling back from an ACL tear and playing for an extra year just to get one final season with the Cardinals.
Strba: All of us seniors in general are just happy we left our legacy, we got to be that first team. We set up the younger guys to get another one next year, now.
Next year, seemingly, is already here. Brad Spencer is the offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator – in addition to his title as assistant head coach. It’s been a balancing act celebrating… while also gearing up for next fall.
Brad Spencer: It feels like every single day you get to celebrate it a little bit. But there is the reality that you have to move on and recruiting and keep getting ready for next year… and reviewing what went right, which there was a lot of.
Spencer has been at North Central since 2000. He joined the coaching staff in 2004 and has helped build the program in to a power house the Naperville community has enjoyed for the last decade and a half. They’re really enjoying now.
Spencer: More than I would have ever expected. I think we always thought that if we won a national championship it would be a big deal at North Central and in the community but it has exceeded our expectations.
Strba: No matter where we are in the suburbs, I’ve been noticed if I’m wearing the hat… “oh, you know, congratulations”. It’s great, I love the support locally.
Spencer: It’s been fantastic for the community, fantastic for North Central and… especially great for us in football.
So what’s next? Well, for Naperville native, Neuqua Valley alum and Gagliardi trophy winning quarterback Broc Rutter – preparing for a run at the NFL. For the rest of the Cardinals… title defense.
For more highlights from this championship season, visit The Red Zone.