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North Park snaps long CCIW skid

More news about: North Park

This has been 12 years and 363 days in the making.

For the first time since the 2000 season (Oct. 7), North Park walked off the football field with a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin victory under their belt as they held off visiting Carthage College 22-20 before a capacity crowd at the Holmgren Athletic Complex Saturday afternoon into early evening.

First-year head coach Mike Conway had to fight back tears because of how much this meant not only to the seniors of the football team, but the countless number of student-athletes that came through the football program before them that didn't win a single CCIW contest.

"I'm a little overwhelmed because we play every game to win," Conway said. "Even though we lost our first three games there were little things along the way that taught us how to win and that culminated here today. I can't say enough about our team in general, but especially our defense did an amazing job. Those guys fought so hard and fought through injuries. But this was something we set out to do, and we're definitely not finished yet."

The magnitude of Saturday's victory sent waves throughout the North Park community as well as the CCIW and on a national level that NPU Football will soon be a program to be reckoned with.

"We played with heart and desire at a level that may have never been played here before," Conway said. "Being a first year guy, I don't know that for sure but we put together a complete game and this has to be the best football played here in the last (12 years)."

North Park's defense was what truly won the game for the hosts as they held Carthage to under 300 yards of total offense and forced the Red Men to kick two field goals on a pair of scoring drives. The Vikings held a 10-0 lead through the first 20 minutes of the game after freshman quarterback T. D. Conway hooked up with his brother Dakota on a 17-yard touchdown pass, and later a Noah Moore 20-yard field goal with 10:02 remaining the half. The Vikings then pushed their advantage to a 16-3 margin after Conway fired a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior Tyler Krebswith 12:53 left in the third quarter, but a pair of Carthage touchdowns allowed the visitors to complete a near insurmountable comeback which gave them a 17-16 edge just before the contest was delayed by lightning and rain for an hour and 18 minutes.

Carthage picked up right where it left off after the delay as it pushed its lead up to 20-16 on a 26-yard field goal from Brett Burkari with 2:40 left in the third quarter, but T.D. made sure the Homecoming crowd wasn't going to be denied a victory as he led the Vikings down field 80 yards in eight plays and culminated the drive with a 20-yard scoring pass to senior John Barnabee. Carthage did get the ball back with 4:21 left in the contest, but senior linebacker Bennett Dettlinger came up with a crucial interception to thwart the Red Men's chances on their third play of the drive.

"I'm just so proud of our team, our coaches, our kids and I'm proud to be a Viking today," Mike Conway said. "Our 17 seniors could've picked up and quit after being beat down for their first three years with the team but none of them did. They didn't quit and we've given them everything we have to make this happen and we made it happen."

T.D. finished the day completing 27 of 48 passes for a whopping 302 yards. Dakota was on the receiving end of most of them as he had 12 catches for 97 yards. Sophomore Drew Walkington led the Vikings' ground game with 10 rushes for 60 yards.

"This is a historic and monumental day for this program and our players," Mike Conway said. "I'm so proud of all the guys on this team and all the guys that stayed with us, and this is something that's life-changing maybe, but they'll never forget this and we made it happen because of them."

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at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
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Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
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at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
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Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
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at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
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Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
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Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Box Score Video Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Video Box Score
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
St. Thomas at Berry
@ Location TBD
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
@ TBA
Nov. 17: All times Eastern
Final
Merchant Marine 35, at Buffalo State 20
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Photos
Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Muhlenberg 32, at Carnegie Mellon 6
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 21, Widener 7
Video Box Score
Final
Susquehanna 28, at Albright 9
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Framingham State 48, Curry 14
Video Box Score
Final
Cortland 35, at Union 28
Box Score
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Video Box Score
2nd - 03:43
7 Salisbury
7 Ithaca
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Live stats
1st - 07:06
0 SUNY-Maritime
0 WPI
Live stats Video
Nov. 19: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Alfred
@ University of Delaware
Video Preview Live stats Audio