During outstanding season, inspiring words “ring the bell”

On September 26th, football players Eric Lind and Alex Prendergast were in the locker room of C-G, nervously getting ready to play their game against Huntley.

Not only would this be C-G’s supposedly toughest game of the season, but it would also be the game with the highest tensions. During the beginning of that week, the C-G players were bombarded with unsportsmanlike comments from Huntley players on social networking.

Head coach Mr. Seaburg soon caught wind of this and brought matters into his own hands by telling the team to cease responding to Huntley’s threats and to focus on the one thing that actually mattered: the game.

And for the most part, that’s exactly what the players did. Come that day in the locker room, Seaburg walked in to give a speech Lind described as “emotionally moving.” The speech was centered around the disrespect Huntley’s players had given C-G’s. Seaburg took it upon himself to tell the players not to let the threats discourage them, explaining to them that “this is your house, and there is no way a team can come in here and disrespect the team”.

“It was surprising hearing him give such a long and powerful speech,” Lind said. “All the players knew he was really passionate about the subject.”

With the players amped for the game, Seaburg ended the speech by screaming the phrase that eventually earned itself the motto of the 2014 season, “Make em’ ring the bell!” In other words, beat the opposing team down until they give up.

And give up they did. Cary went on to crush Huntley 47-7, giving the players an upward look on the season and a valuable lesson that actions really do speak louder than words in the game of football.

The Trojans eventually went on to have an undefeated regular season, with Tyler Pennington leading the conference for yardage with 1,788 yards and Jason Gregoire rushing for over 700.

As playoffs were in sight, the team had the chance to get closer and the credo of “ring the bell!” became stronger. Soon enough, C-G won their first game against Skokie and then went on to force St. Charles North into submission by punching in five touchdowns, making the final score 35-14 .

With the recent success came lifted spirits and countless jokes in the locker room spurred on by team funny guy Lind.

“Nobody was safe from his jokes,” junior Erik Norberg said. “He would target one player then move onto the next. It was always a good laugh, though, and all in all, it brought our team closer together.”

The players all learned to have fun when it was time to have fun, but come practice, it was a whole different ball game.

“We spent weeks practicing in the freezing cold, knowing that come Saturday, it would all be worth it,” senior Mitch Lemke said.

As the playoffs continued, the games became seemingly tougher. Cary went on to play Geneva, the number nine seed in their bracket. The much anticipated team was no match for C-G’s superior skill. Senior Michael Gomez managed to rack up six tackles (that would end up being six more than Lind), while fellow senior Travis Myerson racked up three.

Cary was on their way to the semi-finals, but before that, some of the team’s players would have challenges to face. Senior Jon Davison had been battling two broken fingers on his right hand, but despite this he long-snapped for all three of C-G’s previous playoff games and the next games to come.

“It hurt like none other, but once I got on the field, the pain seemed to go away,” Davison said of playing through the injury.

Senior Scott Topole also suffered the same injury, and, like Jon, he too played through his wounds. Cary went on to take the semi-final title against Libertyville.

During the last week the Trojans endured quite possibly their toughest week of practice, physically and emotionally. Thankfully, there was one player that helped put the drive in the rest of the team: Michael Gomez. Gomez made many inspirational speeches through the course of the year, but Lind dubbed Gomez’s speeches during state week as “pretty sick and motivating.”

And come the state game, Gomez’s final speech would top all his others. With talk of success for the team and an amazing pump-up, it’s no wonder Lind described this speech as “tear-jerking.”

Although C-G went on to lose the state title against Providence Catholic, the players still learned a valuable lesson about not going down without a fight. Both teams walked away from that fateful bell on November 28 having played their hearts out.

Even with the devastating loss, the remaining juniors and underclassmen hope to come back next year and repeat the traditional cycle once more.