Cary-Grove overcomes conditions, Jacobs
Cary-Grove got down and dirty Friday to maintain its share of the Fox Valley Conference lead.
Playing in almost a mud-pit in Algonquin, the Trojans slipped, slid and pounded their way to a hard-fought 16-6 win over a Jacobs team looking to add Cary-Grove to its upset victims that included Huntley in Week 2.
Instead, thanks to another big game from senior running back Blake Skol and the entire defense, Cary-Grove (6-1, 6-1 in the FVC) stays tied with Huntley and Prairie Ridge for first place heading into next Friday's showdown with PR.
"We knew it was going to be a muddy one," Skol said. "On the practice field it was muddy. Coming into this we wanted to handle adversity because we believe we handle adversity better than any other team out there. I think we did that and I think that's why we came out with a victory."
Cary-Grove, ranked fourth in Class 6A, opened the game with a 58-yard scoring drive. The Trojans, who gained all 250 of their yards on the ground, found the end zone on a 4-yard keeper by quarterback Lucas Eleftheriou, who also ran in the 2-point conversion.
Jacobs junior Ryan Golnick recovered a fumble on Cary-Grove's next possession. The Golden Eagles only needed to drive 22 yards to score, aided by an unusual play on a fourth down run.
Jacobs fumbled, and the ball was accidentally kicked forward out of bounds barely ahead of the first down marker. The officials awarded the Golden Eagles first and goal at the 2, and Jacob Mobeck powered into the end zone on the next play.
The Golden Eagles (3-4, 3-4) couldn't complete a pass for the 2-point conversion, and the score remained 8-6 in favor of Cary-Grove the rest of the first half, throughout the third quarter and all the way until 3:05 remained in the game when Skol ran 9 yards and also carried for the 2-point conversion to give the Trojans a 10-point lead.
In between Jacobs stymied Cary-Grove to give its offense plenty of chances to drive for a go-ahead score, but the Trojans defense held firm. They intercepted Cole Bhardwaj twice, who did connect with Max Stec 5 times for 74 yards, and limited running backs Nasir Canty and Mobeck to 44 and 36 hard-earned yards, respectively.
"We had a couple first downs but unfortunately our kids dropped the ball, but our kids played hard," said Jacobs coach Bill Mitz, whose team lost their fourth straight and needs to win their final two games against Crystal Lake South and Crystal Lake Central to become playoff eligible.
"I'm proud of the way they played. We have two left and we have to win them both if we want to get to the real season. Real happy with their effort tonight. That's a good football team. Skol was the difference."
Skol rushed for 162 yards on 27 carries and also had an interception on defense.
"He just carried us and he's the leader of the team," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "It was a strange evening and I'm just happy we won. It was tough because our perimeter game was pretty limited. Our option game is really based on having the ability to run it inside or get it outside. It was pretty tough to execute."
The Trojans also hurt themselves in the first half with 6 penalties; they didn't make a single one in the second half despite adverse conditions.
"It definitely was hard cutting," Skol said. "The ground was really mushy. I've never played on anything like this before. Every time I took a step I'd sink an inch in the ground. Very hard to cut but you just have to deal with it."