Most high school football teams in Illinois thrive to post a perfect 9-0 regular season record.
The Cary-Grove football team expects it.
For the sixth time in 9 years, the Trojans have fashioned a perfect regular season mark, culminating it with a 35-14 win over Prairie Ridge in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division action at Cary-Grove Friday night.
"We talked about going 9-0 this summer and the kids made it a goal," said Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg. "The kids have done a great job of focusing on each game each week. We did mention it before tonight's game that a win would give us a 9-0 record."
Holding a slim 14-7 lead at halftime, Cary-Grove (9-0, 6-0) started the second half with a bang as Marcus Thimios took the kickoff at his own 11 and raced 89 yards for a touchdown to give the Trojans a 21-7 lead with only 16 seconds elapsed in the third quarter.
"There was a huge hole and I just needed to follow my blockers," said Thimios, who also had an interception. "The play was perfectly executed."
But, the stubborn Wolves (3-6, 1-5) refused to quit and marched 83 yards on 18 plays on the ensuing drive to pull within 7 points of the Trojans 21-14. The drive, which ate up 8 minutes, 44 seconds, was culminated by a 3-yard run from Kingsley Ebirim with 2:58 left in the quarter.
The Trojans weren't going to be denied though as they scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Mahoney, who missed 4 games due to an ankle injury, gave Cary-Grove some breathing room with a 63-yard run with 10:13 left in the game to give the Trojans a 28-14 lead. Mahoney also caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Jason Gregoire in the first half. Gregoire replaced senior quarterback Quinn Baker, who has missed the last 2 games with an arm injury. Mahoney ran for 89 yards on 5 carries and caught 2 passes for 80 yards.
"The ankle feels great and it is great to be out there helping the team," said Mahoney. "I feel great and I feel ready to help the team win in the playoffs."
Kyle Norberg led the Trojans' rushing attack with 61 yards on 15 carries and 2 touchdowns.
Seaburg expects to have Baker ready to play in next weekend's first-round playoff game.
"He gets the cast off and should be cleared to play," said Seaburg. "He is a difference maker and we need him in the playoffs."