ELMHURST, Ill. – The Elmhurst football team opened the CCIW portion of its schedule by blowing out North Park University 42-10 in the Bluejays' home-opener at Langhorst Field.
North Park (1-2, 0-1 CCIW) scored on its first offensive play of the game, less than a minute into the contest, but the Bluejays took over from there, dominating the rest of the contest and not allowing the Vikings into the end zone for the remainder of the game.
Elmhurst's defense limited North Park to just 217 yards of offense in the victory while also forcing five turnovers. After struggling to find a groove in the first two games, Elmhurst's offense also got on track, racking up 24 first downs and 371 yards of offense in the victory.
North Park jumped on the scoreboard quickly after an Elmhurst three-and-out to begin the game. A 41-yard punt return from Jared Cantu set up an Enrique Menendez 43-yard touchdown run on the Vikings first offensive play of the game.
Elmhurst answered back immediately, marching 74 yards in nine plays with Jim Robleyrushing for 47 of the 74 yards on six carries. Daniel Bourgault capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to pull the Bluejays even at 7-7.
Following a North Park punt, Elmhurst took the lead for good, capping a nine-play, 56-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Orlando Hernandez to Matt Brachmann.
North Park connected on a 27-yard field goal midway through the second quarter, but Elmhurst outscored the Vikings 28-0 for the duration of the contest. Taking possession with just over four minutes remaining in the half, Elmhurst padded its lead to 21-10 after a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hernandez to Connor Brewer with just 39 seconds left to play in the half.
Elmhurst's defense came up huge on North Park's next possession. Sean Wetherell stripped Menendez of the football at the Vikings' 35-yard line. Andy Warsen recovered the fumble and returned it to the Vikings 17-yard line, giving Elmhurst the ball back with 17 seconds left in the half. Hernandez hit Brachmann from 17-yards out on the very next play, giving Elmhurst a 28-10 lead at the half.
Elmhurst scored on its opening possession of the second half, driving 63 yards in just five plays. Hernandez delivered a 10-yard touchdown pass to Connor Brewer to give Elmhurst a 35-10 lead.
The Bluejays' defense added one final score as Ryan Weier picked off back-up quarterback Jace Bankford and returned the interception 75 yards for the game's final score.
Elmhurst controlled the clock for most of the contest, finishing with a nearly 16-minute advantage in time of possession (37:56-22:04). Elmhurst totaled 371 yards of offense, rushing for 219 yards and passing for 152.
The Vikings were limited to just 217 yards of total offense. Elmhurst limited the running game to 104 yards and kept the high-powered passing attack in check all game long, allowing just 113 yards through the air.
Hernandez turned in a strong performance to lead Elmhurst's offense. The sophomore quarterback completed 11-of-22 passes for 152 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 62 yards on 13 carries.Jim Robley led the way for Elmhurst's ground game, finishing with 127 yards on 26 carries. Brewer hauled in four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Elmhurst receivers. Brachmann made the most of his two receptions, finding the end zone on both receptions.
North Park's T.D. Conway, struggled through the air, finishing just 6-of-33 for 97 yards and three interceptions. Menendez led the Vikings on the ground with 86 yards on 12 carries.
Tyler Schwartz totaled six tackles for lead Elmhurst's defense. Wetherell and Warsen finished with five tackles apiece while Tristan Bolas totaled four tackles and recorded a pair of interceptions. Victor Ogbeborand Weier also had interceptions for the Bluejays.
Elmhurst travels to Wheaton College next Saturday, September 24.