Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Football team misses playoffs, set to compete at Isthmus Bowl

Veronica Peterson
Augustana College Vikings defend the ball in an attempt to shut down North Central Cardinal’s offense.

The Vikings football team ends the regular season with an 8-2 record after a loss to North Central at home. This is the program’s best record since 2005 when the Vikings finished the season 10-2 and won the conference championship. For some team members, it is a great feeling to help a storied program like Augustana get back up to a high level. 

“I was very [proud] of it. But now we just set a new standard for what’s to come in the upcoming years, which makes me happy,” sophomore Breyden Smith said. “I know next year we will be competing for the same thing. We’re competing for tomorrow and the year after that.”

After losing to Wheaton College in their third game, the Vikings went on a six-game winning streak, with wins over Carroll, Millikin, Washington-St. Louis, North Park, Illinois Wesleyan and Carthage. During the streak, the team won four games by ten or more points and scored 40 or more in three games. 

“It’s complimentary football,” senior Tyler Rivelli said. “Our defense plays well, which puts us in a position to score many points and then keep the offense on the field, not letting the defense struggle through many of those grueling drives.” 

Consistency is one of the main factors helping the Vikings this year. The team has treated every team with the same mindset and respect to stay focused on one goal: winning.

“Same routine, every week. As a team, we treat each opponent each week like we’re 0-0 on the season,” Fifth-Year senior Sidney Maroon said. “Even at halftime of each game, we come out of the locker room and treat the second half like the game is tied 0-0. It gives us a fresh start and a little bit of a fresh mentality.”

Going into the last regular season game against number one ranked North Central College, the Vikings had a chance to potentially clinch a spot in the Division III playoffs with a win. 

But quickly into the game, the Vikings trailed by double digits, and when the final seconds ran off the clock, Augustana took their second loss of the season. 

Despite the loss, the Vikings will play a post-season game this season. 

The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) have an agreement to play a post-season game called the Culvers Isthmus Bowl. They will take on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers at on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.

“It’s huge. We’re playing for something, and coming off of last year, we know we have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done in almost 20 years,” Smith said. “We’re just taking it all in and playing our game.” 

Though the season may not be over, the team has done many things to be proud of this season, such as beating Washington-St. Louis for the first time in program history. 

This is also the first season since the 2005 season that the program won eight or more games and only the third time they have won seven or more games in a single season. 

“It’s a great feeling. We strive for it every year; in the past couple of years I’ve been here, we’ve fallen short of that,” junior Mike Digioia said. “But this year, we’re winning those close games, and everyone’s doing their job and doing their best, and it’s paying off.”

Augustana College Vikings defend the ball in an attempt to shut down North Central Cardinal’s offense. (Veronica Peterson)
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