NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- North Central College football players went through a final practice Tuesday before hitting the road to their last game of the season: defending their Division III national championship title.
The team won their championship in 2019, and with no season last year the players have an extra year of eligibility and an opportunity to win back to back titles.
"Our seniors wanted to come back to pursue another championship, and to play football, the game they love," said Coach Jeff Thorne.
Thorne has been around the program at North Central much of his life. His father was the head coach before he took over in 2015, and 2019 was the first time the team has ever won a national championship in football. And it's a very big deal in this community.
"It's huge," said VP of Student Affairs Jessica Brown. "Athletics is key to our recruiting and retention process."
Football gear has been flying off the shelves at the campus store. North Central is undefeated so far this season, and the players realize what's at stake in the championship game Friday night.
"I don't think we focus on the pressure. We know the capability we have. Hopefully we win another one," said Nic Rummell, sophomore.
Division III players do not get scholarships, and very few of them will have the opportunity to play professional football, making this game the capper to what is likely the last season for most seniors.
North Central College defending Division III championship title
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