Cary-Grove adds new wrinkle, handles Prairie Ridge
As if Cary-Grove's opponents did not have enough to consider while trying to slow down an unstoppable offense, quarterback Jameson Sheehan gave them something else to ponder.
On the Trojans' second play, Sheehan threw a crisp pass to tight end Noah Riley for 20 yards. Two plays later, he hit Riley again for 11.
On C-G's next drive, Sheehan hit running back Wade Abrams down the middle and Abrams hauled in a juggling, highlight-reel catch between two defenders.
When Sheehan wasn't firing strikes, he was running wild and free for 144 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 2-ranked team in The Associated Press Class 6A poll took down No. 5 Prairie Ridge, 42-7, Saturday at Al Bohrer Field.
"It was everything we practiced," Sheehan said. "When the run starts working, the pass opens up. Receivers made plays, the O-line did a great job protecting the whole game.
"I felt like I threw the ball well, I tried to put it in the spots for receivers to make plays and they did. Everything is about how we practice. We practice game speed so everything works perfectly in the game."
C-G (5-0, 5-0 FVC) amassed 513 total yards and Sheehan connected on his first five passing attempts. Riley finished with five receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's always great executing," Riley said. "It's always part of practice. We can't just come out and be one-sided and only be able to run the ball. We have to be able to throw it and today we did."
The perennial Class 6A powers know each other well and run similar triple-option offenses. Prairie Ridge's best defense was a ball-control offense.
The Wolves (4-1, 4-1) ran 16 plays on the game's first possession and ate up 7:22 off the clock. Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp went on fourth-and-1 at the Wolves' 29 on their fourth play and made it.
Once C-G got the ball, it would not be denied.
"They play us really well," Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. "When you get a team as familiar as they are with us, you're trying to find some holes in their defense. That's what they do with us and what we do with them. We were able to find a couple holes today and execute those."
Sheehan had a hand in all but one of C-G's touchdowns. He ran for scores from 43, 18 and 37 yards and threw scoring passes of 14 and 10 yards to Riley.
Abrams (five carried, 85 yards, one TD) and running back Drew Magel (five carries, 90 yards) had other big gouging runs against the Wolves.
"I'm sure Brad knows down the line that he's going to have to (throw) in some big games and he's getting that ready," Schremp said. "I'd be doing the same thing.
"There's a reason they're ranked (No. 2). I think they got that one right. They've got some players. We've got guys that are ready to make plays and they just outathleted us."
C-G's defense was solid as well, holding the Wolves to 217 total yards. Prairie Ridge's touchdown came on a 69-yard pass from running back Zach Bentsen to wide receiver Noah Solis.
"We're playing great," said Abrams, who doubled as a linebacker Saturday. "They got seven points on a trick play, they didn't get it driving the ball down the field. We held them to just that play to score. We feel great after that game."
C-G's first-team offense has scored touchdowns on 17 of its last 19 possessions, with one of those being when the Trojans got the ball on their 39-yard line with 23 seconds remaining in the first half. A holding call wiped out a long Abrams' run of they might have scored that time.
"It feels great going on the field and knowing that we trust each other and execute," Abrams said. "We're going to walk out there and we're going to score, no matter what they show on defense, we're going to score."