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October 24, 2009

2009 Season - Augustana rebounds with win over Carthage

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – A 21-point outburst over a seven-and-a-half minute stretch in the second quarter keyed a 42-20 Augustana win over Carthage Saturday night at Ericson Field. The Vikings got tremendous contributions in all three phases of the game as the defense slowed the high-powered Red Men aerial attack, the offense produced 445 total yards and the special teams unit blocked a pair of kicks including one for a touchdown. Augustana improves to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the CCIW while Carthage falls to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in league play.

The win continues Augustana’s domination of the Red Men at home. The last Carthage win in Rock Island occurred in 1970 at Rock Island Public Schools Stadium. The Red Men haven’t won at Ericson Field since the Kennedy administration was in office in 1962.

After the teams traded punts on their opening possessions, Augustana put together a 10-play 80-yard drive which was finished off by an 18-yard touchdown run by Viking quarterback David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.). Lee also completed a pair of passes on the drive, including a key third down conversion to Jake Parke (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.).

Carthage came right back on its next possession with a 12-play, 66-yard drive culminating in a 7-yard touchdown pass from record-setting quarterback Evan Jones to Mike Koeneman. The Vikings maintained a 7-6 lead, however, when Alex Schroeder (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.) got a hand on Tyler Funk’s extra point attempt.

The Vikings consumed the next 7:26, including the first seven minutes of the second quarter, putting together a 16-play, 80-yard drive. Lee completed 6-of-8 passes on the drive and finished it off with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Zachary McCullough (St. Charles North HS, St. Charles, Ill.), who fought off a Carthage defender to make a terrific grab in the end zone.

Then it was the defense’s turn to come up big and it did when Shane Holl (Batavia HS, North Aurora, Ill.) forced a Mike Oratowski fumble at the Carthage 49-yard line and recovered it himself to set the Vikings up with excellent field position. The offense took advantage, scoring in just three plays with sophomore running back A.J. Hoger (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) covering the final 36 yards for the touchdown. Ryan Gibbons’ point after made it 21-6 with 6:01 left in the half.

The Red Men got great field position when they returned the ensuing kickoff to Augustana’s 48-yard line. They quickly moved inside the Viking 30, but on a scramble by Jones, several Augustana defenders held up the Carthage quarterback while Andrew Schweitzer (Wheaton North HS, Wheaton, Ill.) stripped him of the ball, ending the Red Men threat.

After the Vikings punted the ball back to Carthage, it was the special teams’ turn to make a big play and has been the case so many times this year, it was Andrew Rosset (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) and Aaron Setchell (Amboy HS, Amboy, Ill.) who made it. On fourth-and-eight from the Carthage 21 with 48 seconds left in the half, Rosset came through to get a hand on Funk’s punt and Setchell ran it down in the end zone to put Augustana up 28-6 at the break.

The Red Men looked like they had some life on the opening possession of the second half, but after going 56 yards in 11 plays to the Viking four-yard line, the drive bogged down and Carthage lined up for a 21-yard field goal attempt. However, the snap was bad, holder Rick Loisi was dropped for a six yard loss and the Red Men came away empty.

A Rosset interception and 46-yard return set up the Vikings’ next score. Lee capped a two-play, 10-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jack Gilleland (Marian Central Catholic HS, Bull Valley, Ill.) to make it 35-6 Augustana.

Carthage managed to sandwich a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns around a 1-yard touchdown run by Hoger to account for the final score of 42-20.

The Viking offense produced 307 rushing yards on 45 carries with Hoger (11 carries, 116 yards and two touchdowns) and Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.) (16-114) each eclipsing the 100-yard mark. Lee finished the night with 16 completions in 22 attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns and added 33 yards and one touchdown rushing. Parke caught a team-high six passes for 51 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Augustana did a great job of containing a Carthage passing attack that entered the game averaging almost 400 yards a contest. Jones, who set several CCIW records last week in a loss to North Central, managed to connect on 42-of-56 passes for 327 yards, but could get the Red Men in the end zone just once while the game was still in doubt. Setchell led the effort with a season-high 19 tackles and broke up three passes as well. John Mago (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) added 10 stops.

The Vikings hit the road next Saturday, October 31, for a matchup with North Park in Chicago. Game time is 1:00 p.m.