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October 3, 2009

2009 Season - Augustana wins CCIW opener

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -  The Augustana Vikings opened conference play Saturday with a 21-3 win over the Elmhurst Bluejays at Ericson Field. For the fourth straight season the Bluejays came into the meeting with an undefeated record and for the fourth straight year the Vikings handed them their first loss of the season. Augustana has now won 23 consecutive games between the teams and holds a commanding 51-3-1 all-time edge in the series. The Bluejays only win in Rock Island came in 1979. Both teams are now 3-1 overall on the season.

Elmhurst took the opening kickoff and put together an impressive 13-play, 55-yard drive. Freshman running back Scottie Williams accounted for 40 of those yards on five rushing attempts. However, the Viking defense stiffened inside its own 10-yard and forced a 4th-and-four at the Augustana six-yard line. Tyler Lomnicki’s 24-yard field goal struck the left upright but bounced through and Elmhurst had a 3-0 lead. For all intents and purposes that would be the extent of the Bluejay offense, as they produced just 131 total yards and no points the rest of the game.

Augustana bounced right back on its first possession, going 66 yards on seven plays with Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.) capping the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle. The junior running back carried four times for 42 yards on the drive and quarterback David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) accounted for the other 24 yards on three rushes.

The Vikings put together a solid drive on their next possession as well. Taking over after an Elmhurst punt at their own 24, they marched 48 yards in just five plays, but on second-and-five from the Elmhurst 28-yard line Lee overthrew and open receiver and the Bluejays’ Kyle DeMus came up with the interception to end the Augustana threat. Neither team threatened the rest of the half and the Vikings’ lead remained 7-3 at the break.

It took Augustana just three plays from scrimmage, all rushes by Wood, to get on the board in the second half. After busting off runs of six and 20 yards and having 15 yards tacked on for a facemask call on the Bluejays, Wood finished the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run. Ryan Gibbons’ (Richwoods HS, Peoria, Ill.) kick made it 14-3 Vikings with 13:33 left in the third quarter.

Augustana added another score early in the fourth quarter when Wood went in from two yards out, capping a 14-play, 55-yard drive that took 5:40 off the clock. Gibbons added the kick to make it 21-3.

While Augustana’s offense was efficiently putting points on the board and running clock, the Viking defense continued to stifle Elmhurst, yielding just 131 yards after the opening drive and forcing three Bluejay turnovers in the game’s final 20 minutes. Ben Hall (Normal University HS, Normal, Ill.) intercepted a Phil Pedi pass late in the third quarter to set up the Vikings final score and in the fourth quarter, Shane Holl (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.) and Alonso Herrera (Waubonsie Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) each forced Bluejay fumbles which were recovered by Andrew Rosset (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) and Aaron Setchell (Amboy HS, Amboy, Ill.), respectively.

Elmhurst, who shuffled running backs and quarterbacks throughout the game, ended up with just 186 total yards on 53 plays from scrimmage. Williams had just two yards on three carries after the game’s opening drive and backup Jimmy Jenkins, also a freshman, was held to 21 yards on six carries. The Bluejay quarterback combo of Pedi and freshman Joe Furco connected on just nine of 23 pass attempts for 49 yards. The Bluejays also hurt themselves with 12 penalties for 111 yards.

For Augustana, Wood finished the game with 146 yards on 24 carries and three scores. Lee was quietly efficient, rushing for 42 yards on 14 carries and connecting on 10-of-15 passes for 87 yards. Jake Parke (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.) was Lee’s favorite target with four catches for 39 yards. Defensively, John Mago (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) led the way with eight tackles, including six solo. Setchell recorded six stops in addition to his fumble recovery and Andrew Rosset had three solo tackles including a sack and also recovered a fumble.

The Vikings, 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the league, continue CCIW play next Saturday when they travel to Wheaton to take on the Thunder in a 1:00 p.m. contest.