Vikings fall to Carthage in home opener


Augustana Vikings line up against Carthage College on Saturday. Photo by Kevin Donovan

This past Saturday the Augustana Vikings fell to the Carthage Redman with a score of 55-14 during their home opener at Lindberg Stadium.
Despite going into their second conference game with a 0-3 record, the Vikings sideline looked energetic at the start of the game. They gained the lead early on but the Redman would go on to score 55 unanswered points.
Their energy transferred onto the field when the Vikings scored the first touchdown with just under ten minutes left in the first quarter. The field goal attempt was successful, which made the score 7-0. Within the next seven possessions, neither team would get very far and only produced one first down.
Augustana came into the second quarter fierce and scored off a Carthage fumble only a minute into making the score 14-0. With a short punt, Carthage was put in a good spot. They scored a touchdown immediately after, but their field goal was unsuccessful. The Redman defense stepped up after this coming back with a sack and forcing Augie to punt.
“A couple punt returns gave Carthage really short fields to work on. We’ll give them credit, they took advantage of it,” said Head Coach Steve Bell.
Augie seemed to fire back strong with a turnover-on-downs, but once possession was gained Carthage intercepted the ball and returned it for a touchdown. This extra point was successful, closing the deficit to 14-13. Shortly after, the Redman would take the lead within four carries making the score 20-14. Augie then struggled to carry the ball.
“I credit Carthage, they did a really good job at creating some turnovers. That was a killer. We put our defense in some majorly tough positions,” Coach Bell said.
Carthage went for their third touchdown of the half with only sixteen seconds left before halftime, and they successfully did so, making the score 27-14 at the half.
“They ran power well against our defense. We had trouble stopping that,” Senior Grant Burke said.
Coming off of halftime, Augie shut down a fake field goal attempt on Carthage’s first possession, but the Vikings couldn’t stop them from scoring on their second. Carthage extended their lead to 34-14. On their next play, they would return an interception 32 yards and make it 41-14 halfway through the third quarter.
Burke said, “We let the points get away from us, and we dug too deep of a hole to come back from late in the game.”
Early in the fourth quarter Carthage successfully moved the ball 80 yards and only needed to go one more the score. They did and furthered their lead to 48-14.  The final touchdown happened by another interception down in Viking territory. The Redman only needed ten yards to complete, and they did with an extra point making the final score 55-14.
“The biggest factor was obviously turnovers. It makes it difficult. Your defense gets worn out when they have to go back on the field; psychologically, physically it gets difficult,” stated Bell.
Next Saturday Augie will take on Elmhurst, another CCIW team, at the Bluejays home field.