The Carthage College football team (3-6, 1-5 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) closed out its home schedule on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 3 with a 41-24 loss to CCIW-opponent and No. 27 Elmhurst College (8-1, 5-1 CCIW) at Art Keller Field in Kenosha, Wis. The loss was the fifth in a row for the Red Men, who close out their season on Saturday, Nov. 10 with a 1 p.m. game versus Millikin University (4-5, 1-5 CCIW) at Frank M. Lindsay Field in Decatur, Ill.
Elmhurst took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive of the game, going 80 yards on six plays. Scottie Williams, whose 55-yard run set up the score, scored on a two-yard carry at 11:44. Carthage tied the game, 7-7, at 8:18 first period on an eight-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard keeper by Red Men quarterback A.J. Simoncelli. Carthage took a 14-7 lead with 1:09 to play in the half when outside linebacker Sean Cleveland (Fr., Wheaton, Ill./North) returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.
Elmhurst scored 17 unanswered points to take a 31-14 lead. A nine-play, 56-yard drive in the third period ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Joe Furco to Scottie Williams at 9:15 third period that tied the game, 14-14. The Bluejays took the lead, 17-14, on a 43-yard field by Michael Leiva at 7:18 third period. A seven-play, 91-yard scoring drive came next, with Furco completing a 13-yard pass to Corey Thonn with five seconds to play in the period. The Bluejays made it 31-14 at 9:56 fourth quarter on a nine-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard carry by Furco.
Carthage's Brett Bukari booted a 35-yard field goal at 8:02 fourth quarter to make it a 31-17 game. The Red Men pulled to within a touchdown, 31-24, with 5:31 to play on six-play, 54-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 12-yard TD pass from A.J. Simoncelli to Nick Gremley. Furco then came up with a backbreaker, scampering 42 yards for a touchdown with 2:34 remaining, putting the Bluejays up by 14, 38-24. Leiva closed out the scoring with a 25-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play, and Elmhurst won, 41-24.
The Bluejays rolled up 527 total offensive yards, 251 yards rushing and 276 yards passing, while Carthage had 316 total yards, 89 on the ground and 227 in the air. Elmhurst running back Scottie Williams ran for 170 yards on 20 carries. Joe Furco completed 29-of-41 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 62 yards on four carries. Corey Thonn caught seven passes for 57 yards and Vince Gabrys six passes for 54 yards. Carthage quarterback A.J. Simoncelli (Fr., Downers Grove, Ill/South) completed 26-of-50 passes for 227 yards and rushed for 52 yards on 12 carries. T.J. Trepanier (Sr., Winthrop Harbor, Ill./Zion-Benton Township) had eight catches for 43 yards and Nick Gremley (Sr., Niles, Ill./West) seven for 95 yards. Bluejays cornerback Jamall Lane collected 12 tackles and intercepted two passes. Carthage strong safety Chris Jacobson (So., Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) had a game-high 13 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss.
The Red Men played without the services of cornerback Mickey Johnson (So., Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) whose father, Capt. Herbert Johnson of the Chicago Fire Department, died battling a fire on Chicago's south side Friday night.
"We played great in the first half," said Carthage interim coach Mike Yeager. "Except for one great run by Scottie Williams in the first half, we contained them. The second half was a different story. They came out and made plays. We also turned the ball over too many times, and when you do that against a good team, you're going to be in trouble. We thought if we could contain Scottie Williams, we'd have a chance. A.J. Simoncelli gets better and better each week, as are a lot of our younger players. The future is bright, even though that didn't help us today. It's frustrating right now, but we're building something here. All we can do is keep battling."