Pulaski’s Karcz has historic day in St. Norbert rout
By Murray Gleffe
DE PERE – You never know when you’re going to have a day on the gridiron where everything goes right.
For St. Norbert College senior defensive back Kendall Karcz, that moment was Saturday, Oct. 9.
Karcz, a Pulaski High School graduate, had four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
The Green Knights went on to defeat Wisconsin Lutheran 68-0 in a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) game at Donald J. Schneider Stadium in De Pere.
“It was surreal,” Karcz said. “The coaches put us in the right spots for things to happen. Fortunately, it went right for me. I reacted right and came up with the catches. I’m honored and blessed to be a part of this program.”
In all, the St. Norbert defense forced nine turnovers leading to 42 points.
The Green Knights picked off seven passes combined from four Wisconsin Lutheran quarterbacks, which tied a school record.
Karcz’s four interceptions were the most in a game for a St. Norbert player since Bill Van Lanen had five thefts in an Oct. 6, 1957, game.
St. Norbert quarterback Ben Kohl completed 14-of-24 passes for 102 yards and three touchdowns.
The balanced rushing attack was led by Charlie Hietpas, who ran for 63 yards and three, second-half scores.
Defensively, Kyle Santos led Green Knights with eight solo tackles, while Maccabee Barrett had six solos and two assisted.
St. Norbert outgained Wisconsin Lutheran in total yardage, 343-169.
After deferring the opening kickoff, the Green Knights got their offense going early after Karcz picked off Wisconsin Lutheran quarterback Nick Yockey in the opening minutes.
The Green Knights (2-3 overall, 1-2 NACC) drove 67 yards, capped off by a David Lox 4-yard scamper into the end zone for a 7-0 lead after the extra point.
The day got worse for the Warriors on their next drive.
Three plays into their drive, Karcz intercepted his second ball of the game, tight-roping the sideline for the pick.
In the process, Yockey got hurt and left the game for the remainder of the contest.
“This was a great bounce-back victory for us,” Karcz said. “We’ve had a few tough losses recently.”
Later, St. Norbert jumped on a loose ball after a Warriors muffed punt.
Lox scored one play later from three yards out for a 14-0 lead after the extra point.
“(Lox) is a fifth-year senior,” St. Norbert Head Coach Dan McCarty said. “He knows the offense and got the job done in those short-yardage plays near the goal line.”
With seconds remaining in the first quarter, Wisconsin Lutheran backup quarterback Matthew Davis didn’t see Karcz on another pass play.
Karcz nabbed his third interception of the game and took it 53 yards to the house for a three-touchdown advantage.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Warriors started to move the ball, but Karcz picked off Davis for a second time, going 71 yards for another score and a 28-0 lead after the extra point.
“it’s good to see our defense getting back to being ball-hungry,” McCarty said. “It makes our job easy. I’m happy for (Karcz) today. He’s one of our leaders being a captain of this football team.”
The Green Knights added two more touchdowns in the first half by Ethan Kleckler and Parker Lawrence to give them a 42-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, St. Norbert outscored Wisconsin Lutheran 26-0 to garner its first win since opening day against Loras College.
“This was a great win for us,” McCarty said. “These kids deserve it. We’ve been fighting and working hard. We’re not where we want to be as a program, but our message on Sunday has been to keep going, have a short memory and move on. Our preparation was good all week in practice, and now we have to carry this momentum forward.”
Wisconsin Lutheran: 0, 0, 0, 0 — 0
St. Norbert: 21, 21, 20, 6 — 68