North Central Football defeated Wheaton College for the first time in five years to win The Battle For The Little Brass Bell and move to 2-0 on the season.
It’s the big one, the game that’s been circled on the calendar for months, the Battle for the Little Brass Bell that dates back to 1900.
No shortage of North Central fans on hand as the Cardinals faced off with the Wheaton Thunder, the only team to beat them in 2019.
Coach Jeff Thorne looking for his and the Cardinals first Bell win in five years. Luke Lehnen in just his second ever start stepping in to the biggest spotlight for any Cardinal quarterback.
Running back Ethan Greenfield looking to follow up his three touchdown performance from last week.
Senior wide receiver Andrew Kamienski and his fellow 5th year seniors looking for their first ever victory over Wheaton.
In front of a sold out home crowd Wheaton came out throwing. Senior Q-B Luke Anthony finding tight end Bert McJunkin for the game’s first big play during what was a very strong opening drive.
A couple of plays later, they cap it off: a 9 yard touchdown pass from Anthony to Spencer Peterson to give the home team the early lead, and McCully Stadium was absolutely buzzing.
Later in the first quarter, Lehnen gets a chance to show off his speed as he avoids the Thunder pass rush and turns a potential big loss into a nice gain.
Two plays later, well seeing how well it worked the first time why not another good gain off a scramble.
And then again, this time on a designed run, another big gain on the ground for the freshman quarterback who gained 93 yards on the ground in the game.
That drive would end on a missed field goal, but after the early score for Wheaton the Cardinal defense stepped it up like on this big hit by senior Dan Gilroy.
More good defense on the very next play as senior cornerback Jake Beesley break’s up Anthony’s pass and the Thunder were forced to punt.
On the ensuing return, look at the speed from Nic Rummell! A great return to flip the field and give the offense excellent field position which would pay off immediately.
The very next play, Lehnen finds DeAngelo Hardy wide open down the middle, a totally busted coverage and the Cardinals tie the game at seven.
To this point, it was a quiet game for Andrew Kamienski but Lehnen decides to change that. First a nice throw to the near sideline on a quick-out, followed by a shot further down the field for a big gain. Unfortunately, the Cardinals were unable to turn that drive into points.
Second half now, and the Cardinals going for it on 4th Down in their own territory and they put their faith in the freshman quarterback as Lehnen picks it up again showing his speed.
Later in the drive, Lehnen finding Hardy again who gets down inside the five yard line picking up lots of yardage after the catch.
That pass then sets up the run as Ethan Greenfield plunges right up the middle and into the end zone to give the Cardinals the lead! Greenfield’s fourth rushing touchdown already in two games.
After recovering a surprise onside kick to capitalize on their momentum, Lehnen goes long to find Kamienski again down inside the five yard line as he showed off his accuracy with the deep ball.
But again the Cardinals were unable to capitalize as the ball is knocked loose and the Thunder recover to keep it at a one score game.
However, the Cardinals defense stepped up again in response. Dakota Cremeens makes a big hit here and yet another Wheaton offensive drive goes nowhere.
Into the 4th Quarter now and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Lehnen to Kamienski running away from Thunder defenders for 55 yards and once again it looks like the Cardinals are in business on offense.
This is the point where this game went a bit off the rails, as Ethan Greenfield appears to fumble but the referees rule him down. But then, of course, on the next play the ball slips out of Lehnen’s hand and it’s another turnover caused by the Wheaton defense.
But still Wheaton’s offense could not find a spark and on the next Cardinals drive it’s Lehnen to Kamienski one more time. 6 catches, 134 yards on the night for Kamienski who was fired up with the bell in his sights at this point.
After a penalty backed them up, it’s Greenfield to put the icing on the cake of a truly delicious victory. An 18 yard score that made it 20-7.
And for the first time since 2016 the Bell is heading back to Naperville! The Cardinals have tamed the Thunder, and only two games in this season is already feeling special for North Central.
For complete coverage of North Central football this season, be sure to check out The Red Zone page of NCTV17.com