Bethel vs. North Central (Illinois)
Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium-Naperville, Ill.
The Matchup: The Wildcats and Cardinals are meeting for the first time in history Saturday. The game will be played under the lights at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium with kickoff set for 6 p.m.
Game Coverage: The Farm, 100.9 (WEIO) will broadcast the game for Bethel with Dave McCulley, and Matt Swinea with the call. The contest will also be available at www.thefarmradio.com. The Countdown to Kick-off Show begins at 5:30 p.m. Cardinal fans can catch the action on WONC, 89.1.
Last Time They Met & Series: This is the first meeting between the two programs.
Last Week & The Season:On a night Bethel University honored the memory of three outstanding people, the Wildcats gave their fans a special ending, scoring with just 13 seconds left in the game to beat Wisconsin-Eau Claire 26-21. It was Bethel's first win in the four game series. Former Wildcat Dustin Finch, former Wildcat manager Seth Foster, and former Wildcat player, coach and longtime supporter Kermit Holland, were honored in pre-game ceremonies. Finch was killed serving our nation last year, Foster passed away after a short illness earlier this year, and Mr. Holland died earlier this week. All three would be proud of the effort of the Wildcats who did not lead until the very end.
After a scoreless first quarter in front of a capacity crowd at Wildcat Stadium, UWEC would score on a Austin Neu to Austin Goetsch 10-yard pass to give the Blugolds a 6-0 lead. Josh Albrecht's extra point made it 7-0. The score would remain just that until the 13:09 mark of the third quarter when Bethel got on the board with a Wil Masoud 31-yard strike to Justin Brandy. After a Tim Donegan extra point the contest was tied at seven. Patrick Cann's 54-yard kick-off return set up the score. Neu hit Jesse Linsmeyer on a 65-yard pass play to give UWEC the lead with 7:08 left in the third stanza. Albrecht's extra point made it 14-7. Bethel would score in the first minute of the fourth quarter on a Masoud to Justin Hazelray 54-yard pass play. The Cats muffed the extra point and UWEC led 14-13. Hazelray would lead Bethel with seven catches on the night. Bethel looked to be in trouble when Neu hit Goetsch on an 8-yard pass to up the lead to 21-13 after an Albrecht extra point. The Cats fought back and cut the lead to 21-19 with 5:23 left on the clock when Cordarious Mann scooted in from 2-yards out. A two point conversion by Bethel was not successful. After Bethel's defense held and forced a punt, the Wildcats took over at their own 21-yard line with 3:13 left in the game. The Cats marched down the field using a good mixture of running and passing plays. Masoud punched the nose of the football into the end zone with just 13 seconds left. Donegan's extra point gave the Cats a 26-21 lead and victory. Masoud would run for 27 yards and connect on 12 of 18 passes for 190 yards. Mann finished with 138 rushing yards on the night. B.J. Robertson completed two passes in a early key third quarter drive.
After giving up 36 points per game last year many Bethel fans did not know what to expect from the Cat defense. Some of those expectations were answered in a very positive manner as the Cats held UWEC's leading rusher Joel Sweeney to 35 yards after he had 181 yards in last year's game. Although Bethel gave up 257 yards in the air, the rush defense was superb yielding just 102 yards to UWEC on the ground. Senior Will Henry led the attack with nine total tackles. Darion Jones had five total tackles while Tyler Murray had four tackles. Chase Graham helped the cause with a key interception.
New punter Robby Phillips impressed the crowd averaging almost 40 yards on four punts.
Bethel Head Coach Dino Kaklis thought his team battled hard and overcame adversity to win." We overcame some self-inflicted adversity and I am proud of our guys and their effort for the full sixty minutes. We did some nice things on both sides of the ball. We have been in these type close game situations the past several years and tonight I thought we saw our guys begin to mature." Kaklis added, "We had a couple of slip-ups on defense but they really stepped it up and gave us a chance to win. I am proud of the entire team and coaching staff. This is a good win against a very good and well coached football team."
The North Central College football team was unable to protect a large early lead in its season opener on Saturday, yielding 28 second-half points and losing by a 35-29 count to the University of Redlands at Ted Runner Stadium.
The fourth-ranked Cardinals outgained the hosts and owned more than a 10-minute advantage in time of possession, but a rash of defensive penalties and an improved level of efficiency in the Redlands passing game kept the Bulldogs in contention and ultimately propelled Redlands to the win
Quarterback Brad Crackel completed 20 of 33 passes for 213 yards, throwing five times to Kyle Fiedorowicz for 47 yards. Jordan Tassio was the Cardinals' top ground gainer with 67 yards on 16 carries. Joey Michals and Scott Skuteris each totaled eight tackles to lead the North Central defense, while Josh McLeod made seven stops and also picked off a pass.
Wildcats: Dino Kaklis enters his tenth year at the helm of the Bethel University football program and looks to bring the Wildcats back to national prominence. He is a 1996 graduate of Purdue University, where he played football for the Boilermakers. In 2007, Coach Kaklis was the NAIA Mid-South Conference West Division Coach of the Year for the third year in a row. He was also selected as the 2007 American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year (NAIA Region I) for the second straightyear. Coach Kaklis and his staff's hard work in the offseason have paid off with another stellar incoming class. Last season the Wildcats posted a 5-5 record. The Cats won their last three games of the 2010 campaign. Bethel returns 16 starters this season with nine of those being on offense. Bethel averaged 39 points per game last year. Coach Kaklis and his program appear to be back on track to challenge for the Mid-South Conference West Division Title and possibly qualify for the playoffs. He is 53-43 during his tenure at Bethel.
Cardinals: Head coach John Thorne came to North Central in 2002 and has elevated the Cardinals from conference contender to perennial playoff participant.
Following a 12-1 overall record and a fifth straight College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championship, Thorne's career mark after nine seasons stands at an impressive 78-23 overall and 50-13 in the CCIW. He is North Central's all-time leader in coaching victories and winning percentage (.780).
The Cardinals established a new single-season record for wins in 2010, advancing to the national quarterfinals for the first time in the program's history. North Central completed a second unbeaten run through its CCIW schedule in three seasons, earning Thorne his second CCIW Coach of the Year Award.
About the Programs: Bethel University is a member of the NAIA and Mid-South Conference West Division. The school is located in McKenzie, Tenn. Bethel is a private, four-year university affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The football program first started in 1900 but twice in the history was discontinued, the first being from 1942-45 while the latest was from 1953-92. The Wildcats overall record is 119-230-8. The Cats have been to the NAIA playoffs twice in the history of the program, most recently in 2007.
North Central competes in NCAA Division III and is a member of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. North Central went 12-1 last season to establish a new school record for single-season victories, and won their fifth consecutive CCIW title before advancing to the quarterfinal round of the Division III Playoffs for the first time.
Ten Seniors Hope to Lead Bethel Back to National Prominence: Nathaniel Brooks, Will Henry, Dominique Harris, Banvaron Taylor, Jeremy Hunt, Matt Scott, Alex Matlock, Jeremy Akins, Justin Cruse, and Byron Boyd look to lead the Wildcats back to national prominence.
Did You Know?
Cordarious Mann's 1,126 yards last season marked the sixth straight year the Wildcats have seen a running back finish with over 1,000 yards in a season.
Coach Dino Kaklis served as a guest coach with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League this past summer.
Bethel had fifteen All-Mid-South Conference All-Academic squad members last year.
Homecoming this season is October 8 at Wildcat Stadium as the Cats host Union College. All fans and supporters are invited and encouraged to attend and celebrate this special event and week-in. The Bethel Hall-of-Fame will induct some very special inductees with details being released later.
The Junior Varsity Cats play four games this season. Bethel will travel to Cumberland University September 12 to face the Bulldogs. Kick-off will be at 4 p.m. The JV Cats will host Greenville College September 19 at Wildcat Stadium with kick-off at 4 p.m. Bethel stays at home the following week to battle Cumberland University at 4 p.m. The junior Cats travel to Greenville for an October 2 contest with kick-off slated for 3:30 p.m.
The Cats were picked fourth in the pre-season Mid-South West Conference Coaches Poll. Cumberlands was picked to win the West Division while Georgetown was picked to win the East Division.
.Did you know you can follow the entire athletic program at Bethel by visiting www.bethelathletics.com?
Fourteen states are represented on the Wildcat roster this year.102 players on the varsity and junior varsity squads are home grown from the Volunteer state. The next state with the most players is Florida with 46 Floridians on the Wildcat squads.
This season Bethel has 15 starters returning, nine of those being on the offensive side of the ball. Bethel's offense averaged 433 yards and 39 points per game last year.
Senior Josh Boyd became just the third running back in Bethel history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a career last year. His 37-yard scamper against Kentucky Christian in game nine last year put him over the 2,000 yard plateau, joining Adrian Smith (5,275) and Terrence Bell (3,982) in the Bethel history books. Boyd finished his career with 2,093 yards.
Three Wildcat players were named NAIA All-Scholar Athletes last year. John Graham, Matt Scott and Troy Watson all earned those honors.
Quarterback Wil Masoud returns after tossing 12 touchdowns last year.
Coach Kez McCorvey was an All-American at Florida State and helped lead the Seminoles to the national title in 1994.
Coach Cliff Barna is still the all-time sacks leader at Bethel with 13.5.
North Central College football players Kyle Fiedorowicz and Josh McLeodhave been honored with selections to the 2011 D3football.com Preseason All-America Teams, which were released recently.
Fiedorowicz was the lone tight end selected to the Offensive First Team, while McLeod was one of two safeties named to the Defensive Second Team.
You can join the Wildcat Moms Booster Club by visiting Facebook and searching for Wildcat Moms.
The Bethel University Lady Wildcat Basketball team is selling t-shirts in their efforts to raise funds for the upcoming season. T-shirts will be sold on the concourse at each home game. You can also see any Lady Wildcat team member to purchase them as well.Support the Lady Cats and show your Bethel pride by purchasing your shirts today.
The Bethel University Wildcat Football Team will sell yard signs as one of their fundraisers for the 2011-2012 football season. The signs are printed in full-color with the same image on both sides; they are weatherproof, measure 18" X 24" and come assembled with a wire stand. Fans may purchase a yard sign with a specific player's name, number, photo, and Bethel Wildcat logo - OR - fans may purchase a yard sign with the 2011-2012 Wildcat Football Team photo and Bethel University logo.Yard signs are $20 each. Orders will be taken during the game and samples will be available to view. All orders must be paid-in-full at the time of purchase. For more information, or to place an order, please contact Nicole Kaklis at 731.352.5052 or firstname.lastname@example.org