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Daily Herald's 2016 Season Coverage
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updated: 10/7/2016 11:39 PM

Cary-Grove locks up playoff berth

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By Steve Nichols
snichols@dailyherald.com

Senior fullback Tyler Pennington says the Cary-Grove offense does what the defense gives it.

Well, Pennington can thank his defense and special teams for giving him some of the shortest fields and certainly the shortest outing he's ever had (17 minutes) in his varsity career.

Defensive back Ben Ferrell picked up a Crystal Lake South fumble at the Gators' 27-yard line with 10:37 left in the first quarter and that was just the beginning of multiple defensive sequences that led to a 59-0 Trojans win in Fox Valley Conference action at Ken Bruhn Field in Crystal Lake.

In a blink of an eye on Friday the rout was on, as C-G (6-1, 5-1), which clinched a playoff spot, was a scoring machine in its 451 total yards effort thanks to its opportunities inside the South 30.

Special teams recovered its own kickoff at the CLS 23 with 3:43 left in the first quarter and on the next defensive stand, Ryan Magel scooped up a fumble at the Gator 20 with 2:45 left.

The result? Pennington finished each of those drives with touchdowns, runs of 16 and 2 yards to match his 19-yard run after Ferrell's recovery to start the game. Cary-Grove grabbed a 24-0 lead a minute before the second quarter on 22 offensive plays to South's 11.

"It's pretty rare," Pennington, who rushed 11 times for 95 yards and 3 touchdowns, admitted of the quick scores. "We came out and every facet of the game we won and that's really the goal every week. That's what we practice every week and we just executed very well in all phases of the game."

Including the game Beat the Clock. Cary-Grove scored 17 points in a 2:41 span of the first quarter, 24 in 4:41 and 31 in 7:36 bridging the first and second quarters. Quarterback Bobby Collins made it 31-0 with 11:16 left in the second quarter on a 21-yard pass over the middle to a wide open Magel and Pennington exited after Collins' 41-yard strike over the top to Oscar Rivera for a 38-0 lead with 8:21 left.

"It was just amazing to see all that happen, it was very exciting," said Collins, who was 2-for-3 for 62 yards with 2 touchdown passes and 4 rushes for 63 yards. "After all those fumbles, it really hurts a team seeing all that happen. It was a good chance for the guys that don't really get to play to come in and they did a great job, too."

Quinn Priester (7 rushes, 19 yards, 1 TD, 2-for-2 passing for 31 yards) and Daniel Battaglia (4 rushes, 63 yards, 2 TD) capped the Trojans' scoring. They had 9 different runners and 8 go for at least 9 yards. Collin Walsh also added a 31-yard field goal and Rivera led the team in receiving with 3 catches for 72 yards.

On the flip side, South broke the 50 once with 4:12 remaining in the fourth quarter and achieved just 5 first downs on top of 79 total yards.

"We were able to take advantage of the turnovers to start and it was just how the ball bounced," Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. "Defense really played well. They were aggressive and to get a shutout, the second string guys have to do their part too, and they did a great job."

The Gators (2-5, 2-5), now eliminated from postseason action, saw Michael Swiatly rush 13 times for 50 yards. A near 60-point blowout should be bulletin board material for 2017.

"I would hope so, I mean that ought to motivate yourself, " Gators coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "They are a really good team and you cannot give any team the ball inside the 30-yard line three times like we did in the first quarter. They capitalized on every turnover and the game was over early."

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