Like thousands of suburbanites Cary-Grove's football players headed into the city Friday night looking for a good time.
Boy, did the Trojans paint the town red. Well, the area near the intersection of Roosevelt Rd. and Racine, anyway.
Ninth-seeded Cary-Grove scored 35 first-half points and held No. 8 St. Ignatius to 76 first-half yards to forge a 42-14 victory in a Class 6A playoff opener in Chicago.
It marks the 14th straight year Cary-Grove has won a first-round playoff game.
"It's pretty phenomenal," coach Brad Seaburg said of the streak. "I think someday people will look back at this time period -- hopefully, it doesn't end -- but someday you'll look back on this and realize just how special it is to have the level of consistency we've gotten within our program with our kids, our coaches, administration, all that."
Both teams run the flexbone triple-option offense, but the Trojans wore it better. The Cary-Grove defense registered 4 sacks of Wolfpack senior quarterback Quinn Donath and held the St. Ignatius offense to 20 first-half rushing yards in 14 attempts.
"They made things confusing up front for our guys so we had some missed assignments," St. Ignatius coach Matt Miller said. "Also, they're big kids. They're big kids in the weight room so they filled up running lanes and we couldn't move them.
Overall, the Trojans outgained their hosts 407 total yards to 219, thanks to 122 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns by junior quarterback Quinn Priester and 80 yards and 3 short touchdown runs by senior fullback Max Skol.
Cary-Grove led 21-0 after a quarter. Senior tackle Brett Groves (6-foot-5, 310 pounds) and senior linebacker Dan Gilroy (6-3, 225) notched sacks one play apart during a second-quarter sequence.
It was a return to form for the Trojans, who lost to South Elgin 21-6 in Week 8 and rallied from behind last week to beat Crystal Lake Central 36-35 on the last play of the game.
"We came out with attitude and we came out ready to play," Gilroy said. "We got it done in the first quarter, which is what we've been lacking the last couple of weeks, just coming out and smacking a team."
Did Cary-Grove do anything differently?
"Just go out play physical, play fast and play smart," Groves said of a game plan that never changes.
Priester, whose 6 carries included runs of 56, 31 and 26 yards, left the game in the second quarter in favor of Ben McDonald. All the 6-foot-1 junior did was throw a 46-yard pass to Ben Ferrell to set up Skol's third touchdown with 16 seconds left in the half, which staked Cary-Grove to a 35-0 lead.
McDonald broke a few arm tackles in the third quarter and raced 79 yards for a touchdown. His score with 2:32 left in the third quarter made it a 42-0 spread and instituted a running clock.
Cary-Grove (7-3) awaits the winner of Saturday's game between No. 1 Prairie Ridge (9-0) and No 16 Crystal Lake Central (5-4). Defending Class 6A champion Prairie Ridge defeated the Trojans 7-6 in the season opener on Aug. 25.
"It's just the next game," said Cary-Grove defensive lineman D.J. Gajewski, who recovered a first-quarter fumble. "We've got to get it done. Our goal now is to be one of eight so that's what we've got to do."