The 42-18 defeat to Wheaton North to open the 2013 season has stuck with senior Matt Sutherland and the Cary-Grove Trojans for the past year.
Revenge is sweet.
With 298 yards of rushing offense, the Trojans got their atonement against the visiting Falcons with a 38-28 win in nonconference action at Al Bohrer Field Saturday night in a game that started on Friday night, was suspended due to lightning, and then resumed Saturday.
"Our motivation all summer was to beat Wheaton North," said Sutherland. "They beat us up pretty good. Last year we were inexperienced and they were experienced and we made some key mistakes. The roles were reversed. It was a good way to start the season."
Sutherland certainly had a hand in Cary-Grove's win with 69 yards rushing on 4 carries and touchdown runs of 56 and 4 yards. The 3-year starter also had an interception which he returned 60 yards. Willie Hartke also had a pick for the Trojans.
Behind an offensive line which boasts 3-year senior starters Trevor Ruhland and Mike Gomez, the Trojans scored 4 rushing touchdowns in the first half to lead 28-7 at intermission.
In addition to Sutherland's 2 TDs, Larkin Hanselmann had a 2-yard TD run and Tyler Pennington, who ran 22 times for 103 yards, scored
on a 7-yard run. In the second half, Pennington caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jason Gregoire.
"Our offensive line is amazing," said Pennington. "I get the ball and there are huge holes to run through."
The Trojans (1-0) grabbed a 38-14 lead with 11:16 left in the game after a 32-yard field goal by Collin Walsh.
But the Falcons, behind the strong arm of sophomore quarterback Luke Anthony, didn't quit.
Anthony, who completed 34-of-56 passes for 417 yards with 2 interceptions, threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes to JP Forcucci for 29 yards along with a 7-yard TD pass to Mike Bloss. Bloss grabbed 7 passes for 74 yards with 2 TDs while Forcucci caught 8 passes for 105 yards and a score. Jake Heggeland snared 8 passes for 105 yards for the Falcons.
"The kids never gave up," said Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski. "We don't see the triple option at all and Cary-Grove runs it very well. We could have played a weaker team and got a W but we can learn from playing a team as good as Cary-Grove."
Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg was impressed with his team's effort.
"Our offensive line with two Division I kids is one of our strengths," said Seaburg. "We finished off blocks and there were big holes for our backs to run through. A very good first game effort against a very good team."