Elmhurst eyeing spot in Division III playoffs
BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI For Sun-Times Media October 31, 2012 8:06PM
Updated: December 2, 2012 2:12PM
It has been a big senior season for Scottie Williams and a big leap forward for Elmhurst.
The Bluejays (7-1, 4-1) are tied with Wheaton for second place behind North Central in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, with a game Saturday at Carthage and a home game next week against Illinois Wesleyan all that’s left on their regular-season schedule. They remain unranked in the D3football.com Division III poll, but they have broken in at No. 25 in the American Football Coaches’ Association poll.
One key, record-setting running back Williams said, has been looking forward without looking too far ahead.
‘‘In years past we focused a lot on what happened in the past, how teams had attacked us,’’ Williams said. ‘‘This year we’re focusing more on ourselves, playing what we call ‘a blue-collar mentality.’ Just playing every play for each play, not worrying about the end score and knowing that one play at a time is how you’re going to win the game.’’
Williams, a three-time All-CCIW choice with one All-America selection behind him, has run for 1,372 yards on 209 carries this season, boosting his school-record total to 4,529 yards. He gives much of the credit to Elmhurst’s offensive linemen.
‘‘What I do well is work with my linemen throughout the week,’’ said Williams, a former Downers Grove South star. ‘‘I’ve worked with those guys up front pretty much for all four years. We’ve been able to work well together understanding defenses.
‘‘Also, breaking down film is always something I’ve been able to do well since my freshman year.’’
A bid to the Division III playoffs remains possible. North Central and Wheaton represented the CCIW last season. But whether
the season ends in two games or a little further down the line, Williams would like to stay in contact with sports.
‘‘I would like to get a job in marketing research or product marketing . . . and hopefully somehow stay in sports,’’ said Williams, a marketing major. ‘‘Maybe doing sports equipment or team stuff, like with the Chicago Bulls or Chicago Bears. It would be fun to stay in sports.’’
North Central (7-1, 5-0),
which is ranked No. 7 in the D3Football.com poll, hosts its big rivalry game against No. 24 Wheaton (6-2, 4-1) on Saturday. The battle for the Little Brass Bell often has been a big game in the CCIW race, and the whole league will be watching for the results again this season.
Concordia (8-0, 5-0), which is alone atop the Northern Athletics Conference, closes its home schedule Saturday against Lakeland (2-6, 2-3). And Midwest Conference leader Lake Forest
(8-1, 8-0) closes its regular season at St. Norbert (6-2, 6-1), which
is tied with Illinois College for second place.
In the NAIA, No. 5 St. Xavier (7-1, 3-1 MFSA Mideast) hosts
No. 1 Marian of Indiana (8-0, 4-0). St. Xavier beat Marian in the semifinals last season on its way to the NAIA national championship.