Deja vu? CG overcomes another slow first half in win over Jacobs

Think of the best food you have ever eaten. Sweet. Creamy. Crunchy. 

Now, think of that food in the exact opposite way. Bitter. Hard. Tough. 

When I think of my favorite food in a negative way, I think of a four letter word. Sour. A sour food, a sour taste, a sour feeling. This change of taste is something the 2021-22 Cary-Grove Trojans varsity football team can relate to recently.

Dominant wins throughout the first half of the season have dramatically changed into hard-fought games with first halves the team would rather forget.

Wins, yes, but not typical wins for a team that is in contention for the Illinois Class 6A Championship.

On Friday night, Cary-Grove really discovered where they are at – in the playoff race, the championship race, the burst for first.

Jacobs High School, a 4-2 squad coming in, didn’t seem to be that much of a threat, as the Trojans were clearly the more talented team, and they had home field advantage as well.

Jacobs came in prepared, however, and had no problems whatsoever starting the game off strong.

The first drive for Jacobs took more than 15 plays, draining almost three-fourths of the first-quarter clock. It resulted in an 8-0 lead for Jacobs, and the Trojans faced a deficit after the first drive of a game for the second week in a row.

Here is the big picture, though. 

The Trojans didn’t care about this. Cary-Grove moved the chains again and again on the next drive, ending up with a touchdown, a two-point conversion, and a brand-new ballgame.

“We (kinda just) kept the same drive. We wanted to be the most physical team up front, and that o-line, everyone did great,” senior quarterback Jameson Sheehan said. 

Jacobs and CG each scored seven points in the second quarter, and brought a 15-15 tie into halftime. While slow starts have become the new normal for the Trojans, they have a longer track record of offensive dominance.

When CG gets the football, they score quickly. The Trojans take the ball and pound, pound, pound it all the way to the end zone. They did just that to open the second half.

The Trojans took a 22-15 lead after the opening drive of the half, one that gave them that jolt of confidence they needed to really take control. The defense was able to provide a spark for the team in addition to the offensive attack, picking off Jacobs twice.

    “(The) defense had our back, and made huge plays,” Sheehan said. “Those interceptions were great. Defense played outstanding, and those interceptions were huge and those were just players making plays.”

Cary-Grove soon went up 29-15, a score that caused any previous anxiety to fade away from the Trojan faithful and team.

“Capitalizing on what the defense did, our goal as the offense is to drive down the field and score. That’s our goal every time. It was awesome,” Sheehan said.

Jacobs did cut the lead back down to seven later on, however, and CG needed that one drive, one moment, that would seal this game and move the Trojans to a Fox Valley Conference-leading 7-0. 

Sheehan provided that moment on third down in Jacobs territory when he moved to his left, saw no one open, and took off. He had Jacobs defenders coming towards him, and Sheehan knew he had to do one thing: dive for that first down.

Sheehan risked getting a concussion and being knocked out for a week or two. He knew he had to be as good as he could be, however. Sheehan dove headfirst for the first down, and he was able to get enough.

“We just have to make a play out of it, get as much as we can,” Sheehan said. “That first down wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the hogs up front.”

Shortly after that, the Trojans widened their lead to 14. That scoring drive proved to be the final nail in the coffin as Cary-Grove pulled out a 36-22 win over Jacobs. A hard-fought one, for sure. 

“At the end, whoever’s the most physical wins the game,” Sheehan said. “I felt we were the most physical team.”

This wasn’t a loss, but it’s a reminder that every championship team in any sport has some bumps and bruises along the way. 

 Expect this team to come back strong next week against 2-5 Crystal Lake Central. They know they need everything they have to get to where they want to be. Nothing less. It’s the Trojan way.