Football pounds IC 47-7 to end remarkable season

Philip Roy

The Lawrence Vikings returned to the Banta Bowl one last time this season Saturday, looking to extend their two-game winning streak and end their season on a promising note as they faced the Illinois College Blueboys. The Vikings came out firing and took little time to assert their dominance over IC. Lawrence scored on each of its drives in the first quarter, with junior Adrell Bullock rushing in for both scores.
The Blueboys’ offense was repeatedly shut down by a resolute Viking defense and was unable to convert for a first down in the opening period. Craig Ebert extended Lawrence’s lead early in the second quarter and IC would manage their only score of the game a minute of game time later. Bryan Althouse kicked what would be the first of a record four field goals to end the scoring in the half.
The second half saw much of the same with Ebert and Bullock both adding to their touchdown tallies and Althouse converting three more Viking field goals. The defense remained relentless, giving up a total of only 190 yards of Blueboy offense on the whole game. Ebert, Bullock and Aspenson each rushed for 100-plus yards as the offense piled on 583 total yards. Billy Bodle and Tyler Krzewina led the defensive effort with 8 and 7 tackles, respectively.
Illinois College was noticeably unable to match the intensity and tirelessness demonstrated by the Vikings in all aspects of the game. Lawrence’s seniors, playing in the last game of their college careers, showed determination and leadership as they capped off a remarkable and potentially pivotal season in Viking football. Senior Nick Korn led the Vikings’ receiving contingent with 98 yards, including a “highlight-reel” grab in front of the Lawrence sideline. Korn’s passion and energy, coupled with his undeniable skill, has repeatedly excited the home crowd over the past four years and his leadership will be missed. Fellow senior captains Neal Busdicker and Robert Patla piled up 6 and 5 tackles in their final Banta Bowl outing, pressuring and punishing the Blueboy offense.
As these captains – along with key contributors P.J. Hilbert, Rory Quinn, Chris Guay, Chris Kliethermes and Mouse Braun – leave, the team’s leadership will pass into the hands of the several returning upperclassmen next season. Junior quarterback Eric Aspenson will be without his favorite target, but new ones will emerge when he returns at the helm of Lawrence’s exciting offense. Aspenson’s scrambling capabilities were on display this season and he will be joined again by standout freshman Ebert and junior Bullock, who accounted for 1,105 all-purpose yards on the season.
Bodle, back from a medical red-shirted sophomore year, led the team in tackles this season and will return along with junior captain Krzewina, Joe Austin, and newcomer Derek Micke in Lawrence’s formidable secondary. Micke, a freshman, had a team-high 4 interceptions and fellow first-year player Marshall McGhee had 3. Kicker Althouse, who was awarded MWC Player of the Week honors for his performance on Saturday, will also return looking to build on his success this year.
Lawrence ends their season with a 4-5 record, 4-1 in the Banta Bowl, and on a three-game winning streak. With a solid core of returning players, the anticipated contribution of recruited freshmen, and the able leadership of Coach Howard, one can’t help but be optimistic for things to come.
A big thank-you to the seniors, under whose invaluable leadership this turnaround and revival of the Lawrence football tradition has been set into motion. Till next year, then. As next fall rolls around, we will return to the friendly confines of the Banta Bowl, pep band and all, with eagerness and high expectations. Sept. 16, 2006, St. Norbert, “who’s house? … that’s right.” See you there!