Cary-Grove never trails in season-opening romp 23-12 romp over Burlington Central
All 262 of Cary-Grove's total yards on offense came on the ground during its 23-12 Week 1 Fox Valley Conference win over Burlington Central Central Friday night.
Senior running back Andrew Prio ran for a pair of first-half touchdowns for the Trojans -- one from 5 yards in the first quarter, then a second TD from 29 yards in the second -- as C-G never trailed.
His second romp to the end zone came on a 3rd and 25 play, where he beat defenders to the edge, then raced up the sideline past the Rockets' secondary.
That came with 2:10 left in the first half, and gave the Trojans (1-0, 1-0, FVC) a 16-0 lead.
A minute later, Ian Moran and Thomas Battaglia teamed up to block a Burlington Central punt.
It was scooped up by junior Charlie Ciske, who set the Trojans up with first and goal at the Rockets' 5.
"Just pure joy when I scooped that ball up," Ciske said. "Because it was so deep in their territory. That's a huge field position flip."
But it didn't lead to points, as the Trojans missed a 29-yard field goal as the halftime horn sounded.
By that time, C-G sophomore fullback Logan Abrams had 107 rushing yards on 13 carries, and was their workhorse.
He finished with 25 carries and a game-best 160 yards.
"Couldn't have done any of it without my tremendous offensive line," Abrams said. "Those guys gave it their best effort out there tonight, and came ready to play. I'm grateful to have such hardworking teammates around me."
C-G's special teams magic struck again four minutes into the fourth quarter. Senior Jack Rocen took a punt return 34 yards to the house, extending the Trojans' fourth quarter advantage to 23-0.
"The punt return for the score, and the field goal they kicked in the first half were the difference," Rockets coach Brian Iossi said. "Cary-Grove is a good football team, and we are closer to their level than we think."
Despite the 23-point deficit, the Rockets refused to quit.
Burlington Central got a 4-yard TD run by Joseph Kowall (16 carries, 66 yards) with 3:02 left in regulation.
Then, after recovering an onside kick, Rockets quarterback Jackson Alcorn (16 for 31, 136 yards, TD) found Michael Person on a 6-yard pass for 6 points, with 1:23 to play.
In total, the Trojans only outgained the Rockets (262-261) by a yard. Neither team committed a turnover.
"Just a pretty clean game for the most part for the first game of the season," C-G coach Brad Seaburg said. "Only a few penalties each way.
"Credit to our kids, but credit to Burlington as well. They've got a pretty talented group over there, and I think they're gonna do pretty well in the FVC this season."
Iossi felt similarly.
"We aren't going to let this loss define us," Iossi said. "It's tough to lose, but these kids don't have any quit in them. They have character.
"When we watch film later this week, we're going to learn from it. We're going to get better at everything we do. I was real proud of our effort, on the road, against a team that's traditionally an FVC power."