One of the main draws when Andrew Kamienski transferred to North Central College was his desire to play with close friend Broc Rutter.
Kamienski, a junior receiver, and Rutter, a senior quarterback, bonded instantly. Kamienski quickly became Rutter’s roommate and go-to target.
“The chemistry he and Broc have is incredible,” NCC coach Jeff Thorne said. “They’re the best of friends. When you have that trust, where you know where the other guy is going to be, it’s amazing how that works.”
They were at it again for the Cardinals during Saturday’s 42-7 CCIW victory over Augustana, NCC’s 14th straight win over the Vikings.
Kamienski hauled in a career-high three touchdown catches, finishing with 11 catches for 135 yards. In the process, he became the program’s all-time reception leader with 181. Steve Hlavac held the previous record with 179.
“To me, it’s what I work hard for, but it’s not an individual goal for me,” Kamienski said. “It’s a team goal. We all work hard.
“I can’t do it without the O-line. I can’t do it without (Rutter). I can’t do it without the coaching staff. I’m happy, but we have work to do.”
The South Elgin graduate produced TD catches of 30, 32 and 6 yards for the Cardinals (4-1, 3-1), all coming in the first half.
“It was just kind of how the game was unfolding,” Rutter said. “The looks we were getting, he just kept being the guy. When he’s the guy, you know you’re going to be in good shape.”
The 11 catches and 135 yards each rank as the third-highest total of his career.
“Broc did a good job reading coverage,” Kamienski said. “The ball just found me. That tends to happen.”
The Cardinals wasted little time taking it to Augustana (3-2, 2-2).
Ethan Greenfield had the first of his career-high three TD runs only 2:23 into the game to set the tone. Another Greenfield TD and all three of Kamienski’s TDs staked the Cardinals to a 35-7 halftime lead.
“I think we bounced back well,” Rutter said. “There are still some things to work on, but we wanted to come back out and make a statement. We put a lot of points up in the first half.”
Rutter played only three quarters, completing 25 of 37 passes for 291 yards and the three TDs. Greenfield gained 138 yards on 27 carries.
Kamienski was happy to share his achievement with Rutter.
“Everything he’s done in his career and everything I’m doing with him, the friendship is more than on the field,” Kamienski said. “It’s on and off (the field). It’s awesome.”
The Cardinals head Saturday to Carroll with a better feeling after shaking off last week’s loss at Wheaton. Re-establishing their identity was a key.
“It was a good bounce-back win,” Kamienski said. “(The message) was play our brand of football. Don’t go to anybody else’s standard. Just play our brand of football and do what North Central does.”
Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.