An ecstatic North Central College community welcomed its football team home to Naperville on Saturday following its first-ever NCAA Division III championship win Friday night.
The North Central Cardinals defeated the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 41-4 in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Shenandoah, Texas.
Friends, family and community members congratulated the team as players proudly hoisted their championship trophy into the air.
"This is huge," said quarterback Broc Rutter. "A life-changing moment for us. So great to see hard work pay off."
Head Coach Jeff Thorne said the players have demonstrated hard work and a strong work ethic, both on and off the field.
"We talk about character traits that make you a really good human being, [the] chance to be successful in whatever you choose to do, and when you do that, it's amazing," he said.
Following the win, "NC" stood for not only North Central College, but national champions.
"It's exciting," said community member Carolyn Lauingfinzer. "This is epic. This is epic."