By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – With flurries in the air and windchills in the mid-20s, the St. Norbert College football team brought plenty of warmth to the 700 fans in attendance on senior day.
Behind a 28-point, third-quarter outburst and 503 yards of total offense, the Green Knights posted a 54-0 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) shutout of Concordia University Chicago on Nov. 12, at Schneider Stadium in De Pere.
“Concordia is a young team, but they have some talent,” St. Norbert coach Dan McCarty said. “For us to put that many points on the board and post a shutout, we couldn’t ask for anything more. On senior day, all the seniors got a chance to play.”
With the victory, St. Norbert ended its season with a 7-3 overall record and finished 6-2 in the conference.
“I’m very happy with how the year went,” McCarty said. “A couple of games could have gone our way, but that’s football. The year went extremely fast. Last year was tough on us, so this year was much better. We have lots of guys coming back next season to keep this thing moving forward.”
The Green Knights’ defense allowed only 145 yards of total offense, held the Cougars to 3 of 15 on third-down conversions and sacked quarterback Troy Pratley three times.
Offensively, St. Norbert running backs Owen Kudick (191 yards, three touchdowns) and John Trinh (139 yards, two touchdowns) combined for 330 yards rushing.
Receiver Parker Lawrence did the rest — hauling in five passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Richie Gilles.
Lawrence led the NACC this season with 116.9 receiving yards per game.
Despite missing the first two games of the season while recovering from an offseason injury, Lawrence caught 48 passes for 935 yards (19.5 yards per reception) and nine touchdowns during his sophomore campaign.
He tied for the league lead in receptions, while his yards receiving, average yards per catch and yards receiving per game led the NACC.
“Today was super fun,” Lawrence said. “Every time I can go out there and get some catches early, it’s awesome.”
Lawrence had a 29-yard touchdown reception late in the first quarter and added a 63-yard score early in the third quarter.
“On the long touchdown, one of my fellow receivers, Ian Doell, had a great block,” Lawrence said. “The first thing I did was celebrate with him.”
The Cougars took the opening kickoff and drove to the St. Norbert 18, but Bryan Boockmeier blocked Ryan Auer’s 35-yard field goal attempt.
After Kudick scored the first of his three touchdowns at the 10:26 mark of the second quarter, kicker Dan Simon booted a 33-yard field goal into a stiff 15 mph wind to make it 17-0 near halftime.
After a Concordia turnover on downs with less than a minute remaining in the first half, the Green Knights appeared to be satisfied with the 17-point lead.
Kudick changed that thought by rushing 68 yards from his own 29 to the Concordia 3 on the first play of the ensuing possession. Kudick finished off the drive with a 3-yard score on the next play. Simon’s extra-point attempt was blocked.
The Green Knights blew the game open in the third quarter.
After Lawrence’s long touchdown reception, Kudick rushed for another score sandwiched between a pair of Trinh touchdowns.
Simon ended the scoring with a 26-yard goal in the fourth quarter.
Defensively for the Green Knights, Sam Barnett had nine tackles, including a pair of tackles for loss.
Kyle Santos, Jax Carroll, Parker Violette and Michael Creighton also each had a pair of tackles for loss.
Creighton collected two sacks, and Santos added another. Daylan Lujan recovered a fumble on a punt return attempt by Concordia.
By Rich Palzewic