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Where push comes to shove is where Cary-Grove established control of a 33-13 Fox Valley Conference football crossover victory over visiting Hampshire on a cold and windy Friday night at Al Bohrer Field in Cary.
The Trojans (6-3) scored the first 27 points and finished with 250 of their 347 yards on the ground. Hampshire (6-3) got 75 of its 188 yards on a scoring drive in the final four minutes.
"They pretty much owned it on both sides of the ball," Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said of the line play.
"We were very physical and that helped us," said senior linebacker Matt Hughes, who had 1 of Cary-Grove's 5 sacks. "We took it to them instead of them taking it to us."
Hampshire took a shot right away on the game's opening possession on fourth-and-1 at the C-G 47. Willie Hartke and Blake Habel helped lead a surge that stuffed Mason Fleury for a 3-yard loss.
On the next play, Jason Gregoire (7-for-13, 97 yards) hit a wide-open Zach McQuade deep down the middle for a 50-yard touchdown.
"We weren't really surprised because they're an aggressive team," Hughes said of Hampshire going for it. "It's always great to start with an explosion like that."
Gregoire (13 carries, 90 yards) rushed for a 31-yard score and freshman Tyler Pennington (15 carries, 93 yards) capped 64- and 80-yard drives with 4- and 1-yard touchdown runs. Reserve Zach Forney also had a 4-yard touchdown run as senior Johnny Klodnicki, juniors Trevor Ruhland and Scott Tople and sophomores P.J. Bardgett and Ross Bernier, subbing for senior Brandon Caccavallo (knee), led the way for the Trojans.
"Evolving is probably the best word — they continue to grow and develop," said Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg of his offensive line.
"That's a lot more fun and you can feel like you're breaking their will," Klodnicki said of Cary-Grove averaging 5 yards per rushing attempt. "We were driving the ball and getting a good push.
"Our offensive line has come a long way. We feel good but there's still room for improvement."
Jack Timmins had an interception and T.J. Sorensen, Emerson Kersten, Joey Maxwell and Will Mollet had sacks for Cary-Grove. Hampshire senior Nick Kielbasa (18 carries, 52 yards) scored on a 1-yard run with 23.3 seconds left in the third quarter but had just 24 yards on his first 15 carries.
Nick Mohlman (10-for-14, 131 yards) hit all 7 of his second-half passes with a 15-yard touchdown to Tim Jansen (7 catches, 103 yards) with 44 seconds left.
"This was a great warm-up for the playoffs," Cavanaugh said. "We're not going to find anybody who is going to be better than that."