Cary-Grove breaks into win column
Cary-Grove-Grove senior Brett Groves is used to helping others run the football.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Southern Illinois recruit did his part there Friday night as teammate Max Skol rushed for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 29-7 Fox Valley Conference victory over visiting McHenry at Al Bohrer Field.
But Groves also got his chance to show off his moves in the first quarter. The two-way lineman picked off a deflected pass to set up a 65-yard drive that gave the Trojans (1-1, 1-1) the first score of the game and a lead they never relinquished.
"That was awesome," Skol said after turning Groves' interception into a 13-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion run. "We weren't expecting that. Just seeing that was a huge momentum boost."
McHenry (1-1, 1-1) was coming off a 50-13 win over Crystal Lake South last week and drove from its 7 to a first down at the Cary-Grove 23 with its second possession. Quarterback Patrick Breisch (14-for-26, 158 yards) recovered a fumbled snap but was hit as he threw and Groves snagged the ball and returned it 10 yards.
"That is obviously what you want," Groves joked of looking for a pick-six. "It was an exciting moment. It was my first one so it was exciting.
"You're always looking for momentum and the defense got our offense pumped up for the next drive."
Groves, Colton Ruhland, Cadin Koeppel, Addison West and Nicco Miyuskovich paved the way for the Trojans to rush for 411 of their 426 total yards. Quarterback Quinn Priester (5 carries, 72 yards) scored from 48 yards for a 14-0 lead 10:51 before halftime.
Skol's 59-yard run on the second play of the second half set up his 3-yard touchdown run. His 48-yarder made it 29-0 with 4:37 left.
"They were just moving guys," Skol said of his offensive line. "We had a great week of practice and the scout team gave us good looks all week."
Benjamin Ferrell also had an interception to prevent a potential touchdown pass in the first half. Max Buss recovered a fumble after McHenry's Mike McManus (16 carries, 97 yards) was separated from the ball near the goal line late in the third.
"Defensively we had some timely stops for sure and turnovers," said Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg. "Quinn punted the ball well (three times for 39.3-yard average) and changed the field a little bit."
McHenry avoided the shutout on Breisch's 33-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Wagner with 25 seconds left.
"Cary-Grove is a really good program and that's what we aspire to be," said second-year McHenry coach Nat Zunkel. "We took a huge step in a year (making the playoffs) and now we need to take a quantum leap between now and the end of the year."