By Kelly Weese // Sports Editor
After finishing the regular season with a 7-3 record, the COD football team received an invitation to travel to Syracuse, N.Y., to play in the 2013 Carrier Dome Bowl against ASA College.
The Chaparral offense, which has been inconsistent all season, was unable to score a touchdown paving way for the Avengers 23-3 victory in the second annual Carrier Dome Bowl.
After winning last year’s Citizens Bank Bowl, the Chaps had the opportunity to win two consecutive bowl games and prove themselves a force to be reckoned with in the NJCAA. First year head coach Matt Foster, led the Chaps to a 7-3 record and a national poll ranking earning them the 702-mile trip to Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome.
The Chaps received the opening kick-off but stalled offensively. After punting the ball away, they were unable to stop ASA’s opening drive. The Avengers, led by quarterback Aaron Young, drove 79 yards to score the first points of the game.
After both teams changed possession throughout the second quarter, DuPage was in prime field position to score, but a costly penalty forced them to settle for a field goal. Kicker Nick Bartolotta connected from 27-yards out to bring the score to 7-3 with 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter. With the time left on the clock, the Avengers were able to drive down the field and make a field goal before the half ended. DuPage headed into the locker room down 10-3.
NJCAA postseason bowl games allow players one last opportunity to showcase their talents for college scouts before the end of the season. Before the game, coach Ken Dubose motivated the team by saying, “at least 39 scouts are guaranteed to be in attendance.”
The possibility of continuing to play football at the Division I level is one of the main reasons that the NJCAA holds bowl games. “I’m looking to hopefully wow some scouts and get a scholarship,” defensive tackle, Jacky Dezir said before the game.
On their first drive of the second half, ASA added another score pushing their lead to 14.
Although the Chaps offense was unable to put together a touchdown scoring drive, they still accumulated 213 yards of total offense. Dontrel Chance led the running game with 92 yards on 14 carries, while quarterback Austin Howarth was 14 for 25 passing with 125 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebackers Mike Lafenhagen and Devin Coney led COD. Lafenhagen recorded 8 tackles while Coney recorded 6 tackles and a sack. Jacky Dezir added to the pass rush by sacking the Avenger quarterback twice.
Multiple DuPage players started to cramp up during the 4th quarter. The difference of hotter temperatures inside the dome compared to outside may have been the factor.
To add insult to injury, the Avengers would score one last time with 1:35 left in the game ending the Chaps season without any hardware to take home.
“We went through a lot of adversity in the offseason, we didn’t have a locker room and at one time we didn’t have a head coach,” defensive end Julian Turner said. “To make it this far was a big accomplishment for us, unfortunately we didn’t come out on top like we wanted.”
Now with a 7-4 record, the season ends on a negative note for DuPage. Looking forward to next year the team’s hopes are high once again. With the completion of the P.E. building this January, the Chaps will have a new weight room to use during the offseason and a new locker room for next season. Most of the team will be returning and with the experience of playing in a bowl game, the Chaps should be in position to make another bowl run.