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Canton, Ohio is calling for the North Central Cardinals, but this is not your everyday trip to the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Cardinals are there to face Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Stagg Bowl Friday night and become just the third Division III program to win back to back national championships in the last 30 years.

“It would really put North Central on the map, not that we aren’t already, but it would change the culture here and we are the new powerhouse here in town,” senior safety Dakota Cremeens said.

After Covid-19 postponed the DIII season in 2020, North Central has had to wait two years for a shot to show they were no one-hit wonder.

“It’s been a long time, we’ve all been through a lot, and we are just excited to put that patch back on our jersey and play underneath the lights Friday,” Cremeens said.

“We know how to prepare and what it takes to get the job done, so it’s a little more relaxed but the excitement and effort is just as high as in 2019,” junior running back Ethan Greenfield said.

After making program history by winning the school’s first national title 2019, 15 Cardinals decided to forgo graduation and wait two years for an opportunity to do it again.”

“After the season got cancelled a lot of us talked about it, a lot of us had personal things to deal with, putting our lives on hold, some of us had jobs lined up,” Cremeens said. “I decided it was pretty easy for me. Winning the natty in 2019 was not bad way to go out but having one more year of eligibility would’ve been hard to leave on the table.”

“We are doing this for them,” Greenfield said. “This is what they came back for to get this for them back-to-back, that’s who I am doing it for. They’ve been here since I’ve been a freshman, they’ve put in the work and sacrificed, and this is what they deserve.”

The cardinals knocked off Mount Union last week in Ohio. Another win in the Buckeye state and they’ll party like it’s 2019.