BY REED SHALLUE
St. Norbert College Football began its 2015 season at home on Sept. 5 against the Carthage Red Men. Head coach Dan McCarty and his team came out hot and dominated their season opener.
After a less than stellar season, St. Norbert was looking to turn the page after the resignation of former head coach Steve Opgenorth. Defensive coordinator Dan McCarty was hired as the new head football coach after being on the coaching staff for one season. McCarty and the coaching staff took over the role, ready to lead this team back into a champion caliber squad.
In the midst of some quarterback controversy with the departure of James Tringali ’15, Jack Becker ’18 started his first game at quarterback for the Green Knights. Even though Becker was considered the starter, J.T. Crosby ’16 did appear for the Green Knights in the final quarter of action, which might leave the discussion open for some quarterback competition throughout the season.
Becker led the team downfield in their first possession, resulting in a touchdown. Senior running back Brad Boockmeier ’16 was on the receiving end of the pass as he juked his way through the Carthage defenders for the 30-yard score.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Green Knights forced two turnovers on Carthage’s first two possessions of the game. Senior Frank Laterza ’16 picked off the Red Men quarterback first, and in the following possession the defense forced a fumble after a botched field goal attempt by Carthage. The Red Men would be held scoreless until halfway through the third quarter, where they scored their only touchdown of the day.
Back on the offensive side of the ball, Becker hit sophomore Brett Olson ’18 on a broken play that resulted in an electric 57-yard touchdown. St. Norbert then added on to the scoreboard in their next possession after Elijah Fort ’18 stiff-armed his way up the middle and ran for a 66-yard touchdown. The Green Knights led the Red Men at halftime by a score of 20-0.
The turnovers continued in the second half as Ryan Grandlic ’17 picked off the Red Men and returned the ball all the way to the Carthage three-yard line. Becker skied his way into the end zone three plays later on the third rushing touchdown of the day and extended the Green Knights’ lead.
Laterza ended up recording another interception early in the final quarter and taking it back for an 84-yard touchdown, closing out the scoring for the rest of the game. The Green Knights recorded four interceptions during the game, tying the amount the team had all season last year. Adding on the two fumble recoveries, St. Norbert totaled six turnovers in their season opener and routed Carthage by a final score of 35-6.
St. Norbert’s win was the largest margin of victory in a season opener since 1982, per Sports Information Director, Dan Lukes.
Coach McCarty stopped by the Sports Xtra desk this weekend and was quoted as saying, “I was glad we were fresh. We pulled back on our training schedule and weekly schedule, and it was a lot more mental.”
Looking forward to building the program, McCarty also said, “SNC is a special place, and we have a lot of support from our administration. We are excited for the future and what we can do, but for right now it’s one game at a time and we will see what kind of season we can put together.”
With their dominant win over Carthage, the buzz is back for St. Norbert football. The schedule ahead will be tough for the Green Knights, but the coaching staff and players are ready to take this season on at full strength and bring back another Midwest Conference Championship to Norbs Nation.