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updated: 10/16/2016 12:01 AM

The Little Brass Bell moves to Naperville

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  • North Central College's Pat Cravens (3) runs a punt back for a touchdown against Wheaton College during the last minute of first half action in Naperville.

      North Central College's Pat Cravens (3) runs a punt back for a touchdown against Wheaton College during the last minute of first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Pat Cravens (3) celebrates his punt return touchdown against Wheaton College with Hunter LaDuke (24) during the last minute of first half action in Naperville.

      North Central College's Pat Cravens (3) celebrates his punt return touchdown against Wheaton College with Hunter LaDuke (24) during the last minute of first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Pat Cravens (3) drops the ball in the endzone after running a punt back for a touchdown against Wheaton College during the last minute of first half action in Naperville.

      North Central College's Pat Cravens (3) drops the ball in the endzone after running a punt back for a touchdown against Wheaton College during the last minute of first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Austin Breunig (25) looks for running room first half action in Naperville.

      North Central College's Austin Breunig (25) looks for running room first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Austin Breunig (25) looks for running room first half action in Naperville.

      North Central College's Austin Breunig (25) looks for running room first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton College's Andrew Bowers (2) throws down field against North Central College during first half action in Naperville.

      Wheaton College's Andrew Bowers (2) throws down field against North Central College during first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Broc Rutter (9) throws down field against Wheaton College during first half action in Naperville.

      North Central College's Broc Rutter (9) throws down field against Wheaton College during first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Oshayne Brown (1) is wrapped up by Wheaton College's Patrick O'Connell (47) during first half action in Naperville.

      North Central College's Oshayne Brown (1) is wrapped up by Wheaton College's Patrick O'Connell (47) during first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Ryan Kuhl ((18) celebrates his touchdown with Alex Ulmer (6) during the first half in Naperville.

      North Central College's Ryan Kuhl ((18) celebrates his touchdown with Alex Ulmer (6) during the first half in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton College quarterback Andrew Bowers (2) uses his blocking as he looks down field to pass against North Central College during the first half in Naperville.

      Wheaton College quarterback Andrew Bowers (2) uses his blocking as he looks down field to pass against North Central College during the first half in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton College's Sola Olateju (23) powers his way through the line and is tackled by North Central College's Tommy Sora (44) in Naperville.

      Wheaton College's Sola Olateju (23) powers his way through the line and is tackled by North Central College's Tommy Sora (44) in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton College's Trey Hanley (13) catches a pass and is tackled by North Central College's Tyler Oakley (5) and Jeremy Niklos (11) during game action in Naperville.

      Wheaton College's Trey Hanley (13) catches a pass and is tackled by North Central College's Tyler Oakley (5) and Jeremy Niklos (11) during game action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College fans cheer against Wheaton College during a football game in Naperville.

      North Central College fans cheer against Wheaton College during a football game in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton College's Tyler Sigler (4) is called for pass interference against North Central College's Ryan Kuhl (18) during first half action in Naperville.

      Wheaton College's Tyler Sigler (4) is called for pass interference against North Central College's Ryan Kuhl (18) during first half action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Justin Shaw (28) scores the first touchdown against Wheaton College during the first half in Naperville.

      North Central College's Justin Shaw (28) scores the first touchdown against Wheaton College during the first half in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Liam Crotty (39) celebrates his 4th quarter field goal against Wheaton College during a victory in Naperville.

      North Central College's Liam Crotty (39) celebrates his 4th quarter field goal against Wheaton College during a victory in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College players celebrate their victory over Wheaton College in Naperville.

      North Central College players celebrate their victory over Wheaton College in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Dylan Warden (7) scores a fourth quarter touchdown over Wheaton College's Nick Blazek (12) in Naperville.

      North Central College's Dylan Warden (7) scores a fourth quarter touchdown over Wheaton College's Nick Blazek (12) in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College's Dylan Warden (7) celebrates scoring a fourth quarter touchdown over Wheaton College with Nathan Palermo (59) and Alex Ulmer (6) in Naperville.

      North Central College's Dylan Warden (7) celebrates scoring a fourth quarter touchdown over Wheaton College with Nathan Palermo (59) and Alex Ulmer (6) in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College football players celebrate a win over Wheaton College in Naperville.

      North Central College football players celebrate a win over Wheaton College in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • North Central College football players celebrate a win over Wheaton College in Naperville.

      North Central College football players celebrate a win over Wheaton College in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

Wheaton College gave its all to retain the Little Brass Bell during Saturday night's College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin clash against unbeaten North Central and extend its own 27-game regular-season winning streak.

North Central decided it was time for the bell to undergo a change hands though and for the Thunder to finally come up on the unfortunate side of things.

It wasn't easy, but the Cardinals held off an impressive rally by the Thunder to defeat Wheaton College 35-25 in Naperville.

"I knew it was going to be a battle and they're as good as anybody that we've played against," North Central coach Jeff Thorne said. "They did a great job in halftime of disguising coverage and going with whatever they had to slow us down and they did a good job of that."

North Central (6-0) led 24-3 at halftime, getting a huge momentum-shifter heading into the break on a 67-yard punt return touchdown from Pat Cravens in the final seconds of the first half.

Many teams could go into the break devastated by such a play, but Wheaton College seemingly was unfazed by the turn of events, which it displayed via stellar productivity in the third quarter.

The Thunder got a safety on a bad snap and added a touchdown run from Sola Olateju in the third quarter to cut its deficit in half at 24-12.

They made it all the more interesting at 24-18 after Luke Van Dyke caught a 5-yard pass from Jaelin Goldsmith early in the fourth quarter, but that also seemed to spark the Cardinals.

North Central received a 15-yard touchdown pass from Broc Rutter to Dylan Warden with 8:41 left in the fourth quarter and added the 2-point conversion to extend its lead to 32-18.

"We stayed away from what we were doing in the first half which put us in a tough spot," said Rutter, a Neuqua Valley graduate and Indiana State transfer. "I've got to give (Wheaton) credit. They fought back, but we responded, which was amazing to see. You always know you're on a good team if you can respond like that."

It was a huge touchdown as Wheaton College (6-1) responded shortly thereafter with a touchdown of its own, a 56-yard strike from Andrew Bowers to Trey Hanley to make it a 32-25 game.

A 25-yard field goal from Liam Crotty gave the Cardinals some breathing room with 5:48 left, and their defense sealed the fate of the Thunder.

"We beat a phenomenal football team and program," Thorne said. "I cannot be more pleased with this group of guys. We had no turnovers, which is something we take pride in and we beat a team that's great on offense and defense, all around. I couldn't be more pleased."

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