As North Central College football players wrapped up their final practice in Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, alumni and fans lined up to send them off to Shenandoah, Texas.
North Central Football Success
It’s been a historically good season for the Cardinals, who have reached the Division III championship game, known as the Stagg Bowl, for the first time in school history.
“We’re going down with only one thing in mind, it’s to enjoy the experience but to take care and close the season out on a high note with a victory,” said NCC Athletic Director Jim Miller.
The highlight of the season so far was a second round thriller against perennial powerhouse Mount Union, which North Central won 59-52.
“They went from thinking they were good enough to win the whole thing to knowing they were good enough to win the whole thing,” said NCC Sports Information Director Clark Teuscher. “And that level of confidence boost, you’ve just seen it carry through the next couple of games.”
The Cardinals’ opponents in the championship game are the Warhawks from Wisconsin-Whitewater, another team that’s no stranger to playoff success.
Between them, Whitewater and Mount Union won 11 straight championships from 2005-2015.
An upset like that really gets people talking.
“For a time when classes aren’t actually in session, it’s pretty remarkable the kind of buzz that we’ve got around campus and around the community and that’s spread into the greater Chicago area as well,” said Teuscher. “To have a team from this area in a national championship game isn’t something that happens all that often.”
One More Game
But the Cardinals aren’t done yet. They’re heading to Texas knowing a win will cement them in school history.
“Whatever happens, we’re going to play the best game that we can play and to feel good about that,” said Miller.
You can watch North Central College play in the Stagg Bowl live on Friday at 7 p.m. live on ESPN U.
For more coverage of the Cardinals’ historic season, our colleagues at NBC 5 were on campus earlier this week to preview the game.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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