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With Cary-Grove's offense unable to score a touchdown, it was the Trojans' defense that came up big.
Intercepting 3 passes and adding a fumble recovery, the Cary-Grove defense pitched a shutout in a 6-0 win over Prairie Ridge in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division play at PR Stadium in Crystal Lake Friday night.
"Our defense was absolutely outstanding," said Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg. "They were unbelievable. They were so fast to ball and they got some big turnovers. We were in the right position on the run and pass all night. They were tough all night and had to be with our offensive struggles."
The opportunistic Trojan defense got interceptions from Matt Sutherland, George Hartke and Larkin Hanselmann. Hanselmann also collected 2 pass breakups and Joey Maxwell recovered a fumble for the winners.
Cary-Grove (3-2, 3-0), winners of 3 straight, held Prairie Ridge to 48 total yards, 21 rushing and 27 passing. The Wolves managed only 2 first downs.
"The coaches had a good game plan," said Hanselmann. 'We wanted to stop the run and fly to the ball. We also wanted to make sure they didn't beat us with the pass. PR is our rival so this is always a nice win.''
Early on it looked like the Trojan offense could enjoy a monster night. On its 3 first possessions, Cary-Grove marched inside the PR 20 each time but could only manage field goals of 25 and 22 yards by Collin Walsh.
In the first half, the Trojans ran 37 plays to only 14 for the Wolves.
"We certainly have a lot of work to do on offense," said Seaburg. "We certainly have a lot of things to shore up. It was an ugly win. The defense picked up the offense. That is what a team does."
The highlight of the Trojans' offense was the play of freshman fullback Tyler Pennington, who bulldozed his way to 178 yards on 34 carries.
'Tyler really ran hard and keeps getting better every game,'' said Seaburg. "He had a really good game.''
Cary-Grove junior quarterback Jason Gregoire completed 3-of-7 passes for 18 yards. George Hartke (9 yards), Kevin Hughes (5 yards) and Sutherland (4 yards) each caught a pass for the Trojans, who amassed 257 yards of total offense with 18 first downs.
PR's defense got fumble recoveries from Colin Rempert and Austin Nirva.