What works better when trying to win a football game: quick, big plays, or long, extended drives?
For the 2-0 Cary-Grove Trojans, it’s both.
Friday night’s 29-7 win over the Crystal Lake Central Tigers felt like a whole different ballgame from the opener just one week before against the Tigers’ Crystal Lake neighbors, the Gators, but with the same successful outcome.
Pregame festivities for the home opener led to an exciting feeling leading up to kickoff. However, in the same timeframe where long scoring runs dominated the game last week, the first quarter of week two was scoreless — yet still dominated by the Trojans. The Tigers went three-and-out on their first drive, and then after the punt return CG didn’t give the ball back until after a TD early in the second quarter, nearly 12 scoreboard minutes later.
That would be one of two scores in that quarter, the second of which was also the product of a Trojans’ long ground-and-pound drive right at the end of the first half. Both TDs came from goal-line runs by senior Blake Skol.
“You never know what each game is going to be like,” Head Coach Brad Seaburg said. “Sometimes, you have to grind them out like that. I think our guys battled.”
The second half brought opportunities for second-string players to get some playing time, something the Trojans always try for. Two more Trojan TDs accompanied consistently stellar defense that let up only one TD late in the game when most of the starters were out.
That’s the only touchdown the defense has allowed thus far, an impressive A+ on this early two-game test for the state’s defending champs.
Around the conference on Friday, the Prairie Ridge Wolves destroyed CG’s upcoming week 3 opponent, the Hampshire Whip-Purs, 59-0. PR is yet to let up a point through two games. Huntley, however, followed their dominant week one with a 14-7 week two loss to Jacobs, leaving CG, PR, and Jacobs as the conference’s only undefeated teams early on.
No matter how success is achieved, whether it be big plays or small and consistent ones, the Trojans have played their first two games with the same spark they have in recent years.
“We’ve got a pretty tight team right now,” Coach Seaburg said. “We all have a common goal, and they’re all just working toward that.”
Of course, the season will only get harder. However, if this 2-0 pretest shows anything, it’s that the Trojans are ready for the challenges to come.