This past Saturday, Sept. 16, Wheaton faced off against the Carthage Red Men for their home opener. Despite Carthage being a tougher team than their last two opponents, Wheaton still came out with a W. The Thunder took the lead early on and kept it all the way to a 37-14 victory.
Offensively, the Thunder ran Carthage into the ground with 251 rushing yards and 83 passing yards. Sophomore Spencer Peterson led the Thunder in rushing, with 141 yards and three touchdowns. Peterson had a 39-yard run that resulted in the Thunder’s first touchdown. Senior Sola Olateju contributed 95 yards and junior Stone Watson gained 20.
Senior Curtis McWilliams led the Thunder in passing yards, going 7-13 for 79 yards. He also threw for one touchdown, as did Peterson. Seniors Zach Lindquist and Chase White caught one touchdown each. Lindquist had 24 total yards and White contributed 18. Sophomore Adam Terrini led the Thunder in receiving yards with 29 yards.
The Thunder defense held the Red Men to three rushing yards and 117 receiving yards. Senior Luke Sahly led the line with 10 tackles and a sack. Senior Chase Greenlee and junior Eric Stevenson both had seven tackles. Greenlee, Sahly, seniors Noah Spielman and Austin Hoover and sophomore Patrick O’Connell all lent to Carthage’s six sacks. Senior Kyle Fox caught the only interception for the Thunder during the second quarter.
Sophomore Griffin Bowes saw the most action of the Thunder special teams, kicking for 334 yards, including one touchback. Junior Zach Feddeler gave Wheaton 198 punting yards with two of his punts landing inside the Red Men 20-yard line. On the receiving end of the special teams, junior Stone Watson ran for 55 yards in kickoff returns. Sophomore Daniel Herber gained 13 yards on punt returns.
With the stands packed for their home opener, the Thunder put on quite the performance. After the game, Coach Swider commented, “What a battle we have done here… For all those that had doubts that we didn’t play anybody early on, hopefully tonight answers some questions.” The Thunder are now 3-0 for the season and 1-0 for CCIW conference play. Wheaton will be away this week, traveling to play at Elmhurst College, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.