Sam Ojuri, a Lake in the Hills native, earned his second-straight national championship with the North Dakota State Bison on Saturday, Jan. 5.
Teammate, and fellow Barrington High School graduate, Ben LeCompte, also helped North Dakota State to the victory.
“Playing in a FCS title game was a dream come true,” LeCompte said.
“Winning was just the cherry on the top,” he added. “The feeling you get when the clock hits all zeros is indescribable.”
Though the game a had a déjà vu feel with the same teams and location, both former Barrington stars made unique impacts in the Bison’s 39-13 win.
LeCompte became the punter this season for the Bison after redshirting last season. He saw the NCAA Division I Football Championship Series subdivision title game from the sidelines.
Ojuri only 33 yards rushing in last year’s contest. This time around, he rushed for a team-high of 92 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
LeCompte also made an impact with a 42-yard punt average on the day for the Bison.
“I was happy with my first punt, other than that, I feel like I left some things out there with two short punts,” LeCompte said. “I should take my defense out to dinner after they held them to no points when they started with the ball on the 39-yard line.”
LeCompte became the punter this season for the Bison and averaged 43.2 yards on punts. He also split time with kicker Adam Keller on kick-offs.
LeCompte did the kick-offs against the Bearkats on Saturday with a 57.1 yards average. He also place the ball on extra points, which turned into one of Saturday’s highlights. On their third extra point, he bobbled the ball and tossed it to Keller.
Then, Keller found Mike Hardie in the end zone for a two-point conversion. It gave the Bison a commanding 25-10 lead.
“It was crazy,” LeCompte said. “I should have handled the low snap better than I did. No excuses, but it’s just a credit to our staff and players to be on their feet to have a plan when something like that happens. The pitch was crazy, but it ended up working.”
LeCompte’s biggest moment of the season came when he pinned Georgia Southern at the 2-yard line in the semifinal game. It came in the fourth quarter, and the Eagles could only make it to their 26-yard line. The Bison went on to rally from a 20-16 hole and win 23-20.
“That semifinal game was the best of my career,” LeCompte said.
Ojuri had a team-high 71 yards rushing and a touchdown in the Bison’s dramatic comeback semifinal win. His performance in Frisco helped turn a 10-10 ball game into a 39-13 route.
He rushed for 25 yards on the opening drive of the half, and took the ball to the one-yard line at set up a touchdown run by quarterback Brock Jensen.
Ojuri then put the Bison up two scores on their next possession with his first TD of the game. He finished the season with 1,047 yards and 12 as he split time with fellow running back John Crockett.
“We’ve been doing this for a couple years at North Dakota State,” Ojuri said at a practice day press conference. “Instead of having one good back, we have two. It helps your body so much at this time of the season.”
Ojuri starred as an all-state running back at Barrington prior to his collegiate career. He has now rushed for more than 1,000 three-straight years including his senior season at Barrington.
LeCompte played four positions for Barrington. He kicked, punted and spent time at cornerback and wide receiver.