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Can conference champs go 9-0? Tough test awaits

Mike Fornelli, Staff Writer

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It didn’t start well. It really didn’t.

Though the 14-7 score at half didn’t truly show it, PR was dominating C-G in the first half. Aside from a late TD to send the team to the locker room on a good note, the Trojan offense could not seem to make the big plays they had been making all season.

Who knows what was said in that locker room at halftime. Who knows if it was all about determination, and who knows who was the leader talking to the team. Frankly, I don’t care. Why? It worked. While the Wolves dominated the first half, in the second half it all reversed.

The Trojans not only scored twice more, but they rivaled a steel curtain on defense. PR never scored again after their 14th point in the second quarter.

In a lot of ways, this switch for the second half looks a lot like the big picture of these two teams over the last few seasons. It’s a representation of a new undefeated king taking over.

Ladies and gentleman, for the first time since 2014, the Cary-Grove Trojans are the conference champs. Just take that in. Take a second and celebrate that and the greatness that comes with it.

Did you? Good. Now come back. It’s not playoff time yet. There is still one more week of regular season football, and if the Trojans want to have an undefeated nine, they’re going to have to work as hard as they have the first eight weeks.

“Beating Prairie Ridge last week was a great accomplishment,” senior Harry Heinisch said. “Everyone else on the team knows that, too. But as of right now, we are focused and locked in on Naperville Central.”

By far the most mysterious team the Trojans have played all year, out-of-conference Naperville Central can be best compared to Huntley as an 8A division team with a 6-2 record.

However, the comparison stops there. Huntley is ranked 58th in state, nearly 50 spots back from the Naperville Central Redhawks, who sit at 11th. The Trojans are just behind the redhawks at 14th.

“They’re a great challenge for us as a team,” Heinisch said; “We are treating this just as any other week. One thing Coach [Seaburg] has stressed this week is to watch film. Cary-Grove has never played Naperville Central in its long history, so we really do not know what they will do defensively to try and stop us.”

And as Harry stated perfectly, this closing week challenge may be a blessing in disguise — a true test for this team right before they start their playoff journey.

Of course, an undefeated season is an incredible achievement, but time and time again the players and coaches repeat that it’s not the goal.

Win or lose this Friday night, the conference champion Trojans know that it is soon time to really lock in and look towards the real goal, the true reversal — to win the state championship.

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Can conference champs go 9-0? Tough test awaits