Cary-Grove advances to FVC title game

  • Cary-Grove's Wade Abrams, left, meets in midair with teammate Joe Swanson after scoring a touchdown against Crystal Lake Central Friday night in Cary.

    Cary-Grove's Wade Abrams, left, meets in midair with teammate Joe Swanson after scoring a touchdown against Crystal Lake Central Friday night in Cary. Matthew Apgar/mapgar@shawmedia.com

  • Crystal Lake Central quarterback Colton Madura avoids the tackle from Cary-Grove's Nathan Splitt during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary.

    Crystal Lake Central quarterback Colton Madura avoids the tackle from Cary-Grove's Nathan Splitt during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary. Matthew Apgar/mapgar@shawmedia.com

  • Cary-Grove's Zack LaBrec, right, hauls in a long pass ahead of Crystal Lake Central's Jake Coss during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary.

    Cary-Grove's Zack LaBrec, right, hauls in a long pass ahead of Crystal Lake Central's Jake Coss during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary. Matthew Apgar/mapgar@shawmedia.com

  • Crystal Lake Central's Brent Blitek runs the ball from quarterback Colton Madura, right, with help blocking from Buzz Macke, left, during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary.

    Crystal Lake Central's Brent Blitek runs the ball from quarterback Colton Madura, right, with help blocking from Buzz Macke, left, during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary. Matthew Apgar/mapgar@shawmedia.com

  • Cary-Grove's Nicholas Hissong dives with the ball for the end zone but is ruled stopped short by Crystal Lake Central during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary.

    Cary-Grove's Nicholas Hissong dives with the ball for the end zone but is ruled stopped short by Crystal Lake Central during their football game at Cary-Grove High School on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Cary. Matthew Apgar/mapgar@shawmedia.com

 
 
Updated 4/16/2021 11:37 PM

Give Cary-Grove credit for making the most out of an unfortunate situation.

The Trojans had an already abbreviated football season slashed by one-third with a two-week quarantine for COVID-19. All they have done since is beat two District 155 rivals and earn their way into the Fox Valley Conference championship game next week against Huntley.

 

"We were only getting a couple games, and with (the quarantine) we got less," C-G defensive lineman Michael Dec said. "We're trying to take advantage or every little bit of time we have and do our best."

C-G did just about everything right to drop Crystal Lake Central, 42-14, Friday night at Al Bohrer Field and win their FVC division. The Trojans will host Huntley, tentatively at 7 p.m. Friday, in the matchup of division winners. The Red Raiders (5-0) defeated Hampshire, 48-14, on Friday to take the other division.

Central (3-2) meets Hampshire (3-1) in the matchup of second-place teams.

The Trojans' offense, which relied heavily on 225-pound fullback Nick Hissong in its first two games, was well-balanced with four rushers gaining more than 40 yards each. Quarterback Jameson Sheehan had his best game, completing 7 of 9 passes for 108 yards.

"We came out with a lot of energy. We were very efficient," Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. "The defense was really fast and flying around. On offense, we were able to get the ball to the perimeter. We hadn't gotten the ball to the perimeter too much in the first couple games. People were pretty much keying on Nick. If you look at the stat line the first couple weeks, that was pretty much what it was."

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Backup fullback Colin Desmet led C-G with 85 yards on five carries. Hissong had 73, Sheehan ran for 58 and running back Wade Abrams ran five times for 46 and a pair of touchdowns.

"That was the game plan, depending on what the defense was in," Sheehan said. "We went out there and played our best game. You have the game taken away from you (by the pandemic) for a year and you miss every moment. I love being out there.

"Our offense played great. Our O-line blocked amazingly. We opened up the pass game and the receivers made great plays. Props to the O-line, they played amazing."

C-G built a 28-7 halftime lead, then added two more touchdowns in the third quarter. Desmet broke loose for a 60-yard score, then defensive back Anthony LaMantia intercepted a pass near midfield and returned it to the Tigers' 3 to set up C-G's last touchdown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We just lost to a good football team," Tigers coach Jon McLaughlin said. "They pretty much got on a roll and we had a hard time stopping them. Their offensive and defensive lines just crushed us. That's basically where it was won right there.

"What would be scary is what would they be like if they hadn't had those two weeks off?"

Central quarterback Colton Madura was 12 of 21 for 154 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Connor Bartesch caught four passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.

C-G receiver Zack LaBrec grabbed four passes for 77 yards and C-G's first touchdown.

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