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Same time, this year: St. Xavier football stands tall again

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Updated: December 30, 2012 3:51PM

With football season winding down, one Chicago-area small-college team remains standing, and it’s the same team that was standing at this time last year.

Defending NAIA champion St. Xavier (11-1) heads to Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday to take on No. 3 Morningside (12-0). The No. 4 Cougars advanced with a 35-21 victory over visiting Cumberlands (10-2) as Jimmy Coy completed 21 of 36 passes for 307 yards. Linebacker Zach Dolph, the defensive player of the game with 15 tackles, brought his total to a school-record 120 tackles for the season, one more than Mike Kelly in 1997 and Mike Lally in 2009.

In NCAA Division III, College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin representatives North Central and Elmhurst lost their second-rounders. No. 14 North Central (9-3) fell 30-14 at Linfield despite 192 yards rushing and two touchdowns by Nick Kukuc.

No. 16 Elmhurst (10-2), making its first playoff appearance, lost 24-17 at No. 4 St. Thomas (12-0). The Bluejays took an early 14-0 lead on a six-yard touchdown run by Scottie Williams, who ran for 121 yards, and an 11-yarder by quarterback Joe Furco, but St. Thomas scored three touchdowns to lead 21-14 at halftime and held on from there.

Hoops time

Four games into the season, expectations are high again at North Central (4-0), the defending CCIW champion. The Cardinals are ranked No. 5 in Division III and feature two preseason All-Americans. Junior swingman Derek Raridon was named a first-team All-American by, while sophomore forward Landon Gamble was named to the fourth team.

“They’re two who have to be there every night for us, and they have been,” said coach Todd Raridon, whose Cardinals play Saturday at Trine in Angola, Ind. “Landon was hurt a little bit early in the preseason, but he’s getting himself back to full strength. Defenses are going to key on them. That’s nothing new. It’s been that way for the last couple of years. The nice thing is that the guys around them have stepped up, and they have to.”

New arena

When Roosevelt takes on Trinity Christian in women’s and men’s basketball Saturday, the games will be the first in an on-campus athletic facility in school history. The $12.1 million Lillian and Larry Goodman Center at 501 S. Wabash was built with a lead gift of $3 million by local philanthropist Larry Goodman and named for him and his late wife.

It’s a two-level structure, with offices, a strength room and an athletic training room on the first floor and a 550-seat gym on the second.

After 21 years without intercollegiate athletics, Roosevelt reinstated men’s sports and introduced women’s sports in 2010-11. The Lakers have 12 teams that compete in the NAIA and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The basketball teams have been playing at UIC’s Physical Education Building but now can play just half a block from classrooms and dorms.

The arena opens with the women’s game at 1 p.m., followed by the men’s game.

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