Bobby Collins may have said it best after the game.
"A lot happened," the Cary-Grove quarterback chimed after the Trojans rolled to a 42-0 win over CL Central to end the regular season at Al Bohrer Field in Cary Friday.
And Collins wasn't kidding. Whether it was his two 50-yard-plus touchdown throws to finish 3-of-3 passing for 140 yards, his 99-yard touchdown run or the 5 interceptions the Cary-Grove defense snagged -- 2 of which were returned for touchdowns -- all was good in C-G's Fox Valley Conference finale.
"We were just looking to get our eighth win, possibly getting home-field advantage for the playoffs," Collins said. "And now its all about the playoffs and getting better every week."
Not only did the win mark the 12th time in 13 years Cary-Grove finished with at least 8 wins, the Trojans made it 8-straight overall heading into the playoffs for the 13th straight year.
"It's a more of a testament to the level of commitment our kids have had over the years -- the buy-in to our program," Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. "That's really more of a program achievement but every class is a part of that cumulative effort."
An effort that was on display from the get-go. The Trojans (8-1, 7-1) had many big plays to choose from. Collins hit Quinn Priester on a 50-yard bomb on the game's third play to get C-G a quick 7-0 lead. Running back Kyle Pressley (25 yards receiving, 17 yards rushing, 1 TD reception, 1 rushing TD) followed with an 8-yard run on the next drive for a 14-0 lead and Pressley made it 21-0 with 9 minutes to go in the second quarter on a 75-yard touchdown heave from Collins.
"Defenses really key in on us running the ball," said Collins, who also totaled 110 yards on 3 rushes. "So when we open up the pass it's wide open and of course you have to hit it and execute."
Which was the antitheses for the Tigers (2-7, 1-7), who made Cary-Grove literally pick-city. That's when you enter defensive back Zach Underwood into the fold.
Underwood snagged 3 interceptions, his first a 25-yard touchdown return for a 28-0 lead with 8:06 left in the second quarter. It was the start of 3-straight Tiger possessions ending on interceptions, as Underwood's second at the Trojan 1 set up Collins' 99-yard touchdown run on the very next play. On the subsequent Central drive, defensive back Oscar Rivera brought pick-city back to life when he intercepted Central quarterback Jake Staples for a 60-yard touchdown return and a 42-0 lead. To boot, Underwood ended the Tigers' next drive on another snag just before the half.
"Our defense had great pressure all night," Underwood said. "Our job, or at least mine, was to find the crossing routes and I was able to read the quarterback's eyes and was able to pick that ball off on the first one and take it to the house. It's huge momentum. It's a whole team effort and it's a team win."
Although Staples threw 5 interceptions, he managed 17 completions on 35 throws for 270 yards as Central was edged in total yards 391-336. Richard Logan led Central in receiving with 6 catches for 133 yards while Michael Stone added 4 catches for 75 yards. The Tigers were able to move the ball on the Trojans at times but the windows to throw on the Trojans tightened in the red zone.
"I thought we moved the ball in-between the 20s pretty well," Central coach John McCaughlin said. "But the field becomes shorter and more compressed and it was harder to find those open spots for the quarterback."