Video courtesy of North Central College Athletics

Coming up next Friday (1/31), the North Central Cardinals football team will get a Naperville Police and Fire escort to a huge celebration at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in downtown Naperville.

The Cards defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater 41-14 to win the school’s first ever football national championship last month in Texas.

“The City of Naperville is thrilled to recognize our hometown college, North Central College, for its incredible football season and National Championship win. Cheering on this great team has provided hours of excitement for many in our community and an enhanced sense of local pride in all that Naperville offers. We hope the community will join us as we celebrate the team’s accomplishment at the rally on Jan. 31.” — Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico

The processional route, which begins at Fire Station 7 around 3:30 p.m., continues along Aurora Avenue, turning left on Washington Street, right on Benton Avenue, right on S. Brainard Street, crosses Chicago Avenue and continues to the stadium. Parking for the rally is available at the Central Parking Facility, 75 E. Chicago Ave.; the Municipal Center Parking Facility, 400 S. Eagle St.; and the Water Street Parking Facility, 120 Water St.

The 4 p.m. rally at the football field will feature performances from North Central’s Cardinal Marching Band and cheerleaders. Speakers will include Head Football Coach Jeff Thorne, the National Coach of the Year; College President Troy D. Hammond; Athletic Director Jim Miller; and one or more members of the Cardinal football team. Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico will present the College and its football program with a proclamation on behalf of the City.