The North Central College football team started the 2016 season earlier than normal, traveling to Scotland and recording an 82-0 victory over the East Kilbride Pirates, one of the United Kingdom’s top club teams.
The game was the culmination of a weeklong trip that included some popular destinations in Ireland. The itinerary offered opportunities for cultural exchange as well as spectacular sightseeing.
“The trip was an amazing experience for all of us,” says head coach Jeff Thorne. “It was good to be able to get a game in, but the greatest benefit was the opportunity to experience a different culture and share that time together.”
In Ireland, the Cardinals discovered the magnificent Cliffs of Moher and visited the Aran Islands and Galway. In Dublin they toured Croke Park Stadium (home of Ireland’s Gaelic Games), the Gaelic Athletic Association Museum and the Guinness Storehouse. In Glasgow they prepared for the game against the Pirates. Before returning home, the Cardinals also spent time in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and visited Edinburgh Castle.
Highlights of the game against East Kilbride included five rushing touchdowns by Jack Dibble ’19 and a 66-yard punt return touchdown by Jason Ochoa ’17. Alex Ulmer’17 found the end zone twice, while Broc Rutter ’19, Cory Hartema ’18, Bart Diehl ’18 and Mike Riggio ’16 each scored once.
The North Central football program has previously traveled to Italy (2006), Switzerland (2009) and Spain (2013).