James Cobbs, center, of Carthage tries to get away from Travon Aldridge of Augustana during a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin game at Art Keller Field on Saturday afternoon. Carthage won, 27-24. ( KEVIN POIRIER )
With the offense sputtering and time running out, the Carthage football team gave backup Kyle Friberg his first chance as quarterback.
Despite never taking a snap at the collegiate level, the sophomore did not disappoint in leading the Red Men to a come-from-behind 27-24 Homecoming victory over Augustana at Art Keller Field on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing by five points, the Carthage football team drove to the Wheaton 38-yard line midway through the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon at Art Keller Field.
But the Red Men failed to gain a yard on the next three plays, punted and watched the seventh-ranked Thunder hold on for a 19-14 win in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin opener for both teams.
The way the season is going for the Carthage football team, expect anything to happen when it hosts seventh-ranked Wheaton at 1 p.m. Saturday at Art Keller Field.
The Red Men are 2-0 for the first time under fourth-year coach Mike Yeager after opening with a 40-point win over Aurora, their largest margin of victory in Week 1 since 1915, and then beating Bethel, 40-34, in overtime last week with the help of a shanked point-after attempt late in regulation.
One week after beating Aurora (Ill.) by 40 points — the second-largest Week 1 win in program history — the Red Men defeated Bethel (Minn.), 40-34 in overtime, in a non-conference game on Saturday afternoon at Royal Stadium in St. Paul, Minn.
The Carthage and Bethel (Minn.) offenses combined for 1,146 yards, 150 plays and 81 points in their non-conference season openers last week, with the Red Men routing Aurora (Ill.) 51-11 at Art Keller Field and the Royals losing 70-53 at the University of Dubuque.
So will Saturday’s 1 p.m. contest at Royal Stadium in St. Paul, Minn., resemble another track meet?
For more than three quarters Saturday afternoon, the Carthage football team was right with the class of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and one of the top NCAA Division III teams in the country.
In the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, the top four finishers in the regular-season standings in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball qualify for championship tournaments.
While football does not have a four-team conference tournament, Carthage would have been a qualifier this season if such a thing existed.
KENOSHA — On a day when the seniors for the Carthage football program were honored, it was a pair of underclassmen who made the biggest plays.
And they didn’t hold back on their future expectations for the team after the Red Men ended their home schedule with a gritty 14-6 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin win over North Park on Saturday afternoon at Art Keller Field.
KENOSHA — The Carthage football team will recognize nine seniors when it hosts North Park in the final home game of the season 1 p.m. Saturday at Art Keller Field.
While Terrance Allen, Jacob Alten, Kevin Blank, Sam Calderaro, Mark Clark, Brendan Dix, Marquis Hines Jr., James Sowa and Rocco Zaccaro have lost more games than they have won, they have been instrumental in helping the Carthage program turn the corner.