With four-year standout Tyler Pennington sidelined with an ankle sprain, Cary-Grove was seeking someone to fill the void.
Junior Max Skol filled in admirably.
Skol, who returned the opening kickoff 68 yards, also blocked a punt to lead Cary-Grove to two early scores as the Trojans trounced Hampshire 62-12 in Fox Valley Conference action in Cary Friday night,
After the opening kickoff, Skol ended the 6-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Trojans (2-1, 2-1) an early 7-0 lead.
After the Trojans' defense forced Hampshire (2-1, 1-1) to punt from its own 26, Skol was able to penetrate the Hampshire line and block the punt which was recovered by Jake Kuhl at the 18. The Trojans needed 5 plays to score capped by a 1-yard run by Skol. With 2:02 elapsed in the game, the Trojans led 14-0.
"Tyler probably could have played, but we wanted to make sure his ankle is fully healed," said Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg. "He will be week-to-week. Max really set the tone early with the kick return and the blocked punt. Max is such an explosive player."
Skol rushed 15 times for 69 yards,
"Tyler has huge shoes to fill," said Skol. "I just want to set the tone early on the kickoff. The blocking was great and I had a lot of room to run. On the blocked punt, I got a good surge in the line and was able to read the punt. It was good to punch them in the mouth early."
With Skol rushing ball effectively inside early, it opened the outside for Ryan Magel. Magel, who ran 4 times for 81 yards, scored 3 touchdowns on runs of 10, 32 and 20 yards.
Split end Oscar Rivera was key in the Trojans' passing game, catching a 29-yard TD pass from Bobby Collins along with a 54-yard scoring strike from backup sophomore quarterback Quinn Priester, who ran for a 59-yard TD.
"It is nice to get the passing game going," said Rivera. "The first TD was a fade route and Bobby put the ball right there and the second one Quinn executed the play perfectly."
Hampshire's offense which has been prolific through two games, was held to a 73-yard TD pass from Jake Vincent to Jared Hornbeck.
Hornbeck also scored on a 97-yard kick return,
"There were plays out there to be made," said Hampshire coach Mike Brasile. "This one stings badly. We need to learn from our mistakes."