On a cool, crisp evening on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Carthage College football team (4-2, 1-2 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) almost had enough late-night heroics to upend CCIW-opponent Augustana College (Ill., 1-5, 1-2 CCIW). Not quite, though, as the Red Men came up a 19-13 loser to the Vikings at Ericson Field in Rock Island, Ill.
Carthage took a 3-0 lead on a 31-yard field goal by Kurt Krause at 4:05 first period. Augustana fumbled the ensuing kickoff return. The Red Men took over at the Vikings' 45-yard line and scored on a six-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a one-yard keeper by quarterback T.J. Trepanier at 1:45. The Red Men led, 10-0. A 39-yard interception of a Trepanier pass by Ben Hall set a 24-yard field goal by Augustana's Brady Rogers at 13:31 that cut the Carthage lead to 10-3.
A Bo Goshorn interception of another Trepanier pass, coupled with a Carthage personal foul, set up a Vikings score at 5:09 second period. Zac McCullough carried the ball in from the 13-yard line, and the score was tied, 10-10. Augustana's Brady Rogers missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt with 11 seconds remaining in the half. The Vikings took their first lead of the game,17-10, at 12:13 third period on an eight-yard touchdown pass from David Lee to Nick Krantz. Augustana's 39-yard scoring drive began when Carthage punter Chris Schulz scrambled on a punting situation but ran out of bounds short of the first down. At 6:13 third period, Trepanier bobbled a rush attempt and was tackled in the end zone by Kyle Voda for a safety, giving the Vikings a 19-10 lead.
A Carthage drive at the end of the third period that was aided by a couple of pass-interference calls looked promising, but a 44-yard field-goal attempt by Krause went wide at 13:42 fourth period. A 44-yard pass from Trepanier to Chris Schulz set up a 42-yard Krause field goal at 4:16 that cut the Vikings' lead to 19-13. That field goal was the Red Men's first score since 1:45 first quarter. The next Augustana drive stalled, and the Red Men took over on their own 34-yard line with 2:33 to play. Led by some crisp Trepanier passing, Carthage marched down the field, all the way to Augie 18-yard line, before an incomplete pass from Trepanier to Mike Koeneman in the end zone ended the Carthage drive at 1:06. The Vikings ran out the clock for the final, 19-13 margin.
Carthage had the edge on the statistics. The Red Men rolled up 335 total offensive yards, 185 rushing and 150 yards passing, while Augustana had 263 total yards, 139 on the ground and 124 in the air. The Red Men also had a small margin in time-of-possession, 32:28 to 27:32. T.J. Trepanier (Jr., Winthrop Harbor, Ill./Zion-Benton Township) ran for 70 yards on 15 carries and completed nine-of-29 passes for another 150 yards. Marty Dwyer (Sr., Kingston, Ill./Genoa-Kingston) rushed for 53 yards on 18 carries. Chris Schulz (Sr., Oswego, Ill.) caught four passes for 82 yards. Augustana quarterback David Lee completed 15-of-29 passes for 124 yards and rushed for 39 yards on 12 carries.
The Red Men sacked Lee four times, with Josh Langensiepen (Sr., Sacramento, Calif./Sheldon), Marcus Williams (Sr., Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes Community), Mike Merucci (Jr., Kenosha, Wis./Bradford) and Tyler O'Brien (Jr., Cary, Ill./Cary-Grove) each collecting one. Brad Fortney (Sr., Antioch, Ill./Antioch Community) and Wayne Bolden (Sr., Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook) each had six solo tackles for Carthage.
"This loss was hard to take," admitted coach Tim Rucks. "We didn't play well in any phase of the game. We didn't bring it tonight. Augustana gave us a lot of problems with their defensive front, and we had a couple of turnovers that really hurt us. We just lot our momentum, and we had no real consistency or flow to our offense. We lost Mike Oratowski and Danny Diaz to injuries tonight, and that also set us back. On our last drive, we were trying to give T.J. Trepanier some running room, because we had two or three time outs. He could have run on a couple of those pass plays, but it just didn't happen. The throw to Mike Koeneman in the end zone just wasn't there. I knew Augustana was a good football team, better than their record showed. We knew it wasn't going to be easy."
Carthage plays host to conference-opponent Wheaton College (Ill., 5-1, 2-1 CCIW) on Saturday, Oct. 22 in a 7 p.m. contest at Art Keller Field in Kenosha, Wis.