Football: One last look back before we set eyes on next season


Utter dominance. They kept it strong. High expectations. They met them. 

The adversity sent their way. They slayed it. 

Many things were at the forefront of this football season for Cary-Grove, and all of these things took on a whole new meaning once the dust settled on another successful season. 

Heck, an absolutely historic season. A magical, Disney-esque one. 

There was no shortage of assistance on this ride to immortality. 

Senior quarterback Jameson Sheehan was the captain of the ship, anchoring this hard-to-contain triple-option offense with his poise and determination in and out of the pocket. 

He was able to manipulate defenses with his hard-to-detect movements after the snap. 

Any play that surely looked like a handoff turned out to be a wide open play-action pass for a first down or touchdown score. 

Sheehan also had speed, which turned into long runs that defenses weren’t able to contain. 

Fullback Nick Hissong was the next big fish in this championship-season aquarium. Hissong used his strength and speed to bull-rush through defenses and create big plays that could turn a game topsy-turny. 

Hissong overall made an impact just like Titans running back Derrick Henry. Not having both for a play or two in a row can really dampen the confidence his team has. 

Well, actually, in Cary-Grove’s case, missing Hissong for a bit was no sweat. 

Wade Abrams was another big part of this championship ride. Wade used his flashy speed and great build to really trick defenses, not knowing which trait would come out at given moments. 

Finally, there was Drew Magel. He used his agility and quickness to whiz past defenders and create opportunities for CG every snap. 

None of this success for the Trojans would’ve happened without the big men upfront. 

The special five consisted of Zach Petkos, Niko Neckopulous, Ryan Gustafsson, Aaron Caspary, and Nolan Sharkey. 

This group of guys held the triple option’s success in their hands all season long, their size and strength creating large holes for the crop of running backs behind the signal-caller. 

There is a reason why they are recognized every home game by Cary-Grove Trojans public address-announcing legend Rich Rasmussen. 

As we keep going through the historic men on this Trojans squad, we journey through the tight ends, most notably Noah Riley, who not only had the size and strength necessary to make big catches down field, but also, the awareness to play on defense. 

Seems like that aspect of his game worked out for him in the end. 

Once we move past the many-talent-in-the-position group of Trojans, we venture towards the defense. The defense that was able to create many problems for opposing offenses. If we take a look at the points allowed by this defense all year, that claim can be clearly justified. 

3 points in Week 1

20 points in Week 2 

14 points in Week 3 

14 points in Week 4 

7 points in Week 5 

13 points in Week 6 

22 points in Week 7 

7 points in Week 8 

14 points in Week 9 

8 points in Round 1 of playoffs 

27 points in Round 2 of playoffs

21 points in Round 3 of playoffs 

7 points in Semifinal 

37 points in Championship 

If you do the math, that is a total of 214 points allowed on defense. The offense for the Trojans scored 642 points in their 14 games in action. 

That number is more than TRIPLE the amount of points allowed by the defense. Although this spread is present, it also justifies the great job the defense did all year. 

If the defense didn’t recover fumbles, force interceptions, and make key stops, this offensive input wouldn’t have happened. 

This 2021 Trojans squad truly played as a well-oiled machine with very few flaws in their game. 

Hold on! I need to mention special teams! 

Toby Splitt, Logan Leach, Thomas Burton. 

These three men took kicking and made it an art form. 

Although they weren’t needed that much throughout the first 13 contests, their execution in the state game really took Cary-Grove to a whole new level. 

For the second time in three seasons. 

If these three men didn’t nail each of the snaps, holds, and kicks they were given, well, we might not be sitting here looking back on a championship season. 

A one-point victory really puts that into perspective. 

As we look forward to 2022 football at Cary-Grove, there is likely one question that will be on the minds of everyone once we reach August. 

Who will be the man under center? 

Coach Brad Seaburg is leaving all options on the table. 

“It could be some guys that played quarterback this year, it could be guys who didn’t,” he said. 

With all of these possibilities, Coach Seaburg knows he and his staff will have to build up these men so whoever starts will have the tools needed to be successful. 

“Our plan is just to get them stronger and faster.” 

One thing that will likely be a big topic of discussion is how this team will fare without their senior stars from this past season. 

Coach Seaburg is proud of how the next faces of this team did in limited opportunities, and sees nothing different between them and the seniors set to start the next chapter of their lives. 

“They came in and did a good job. They worked hard,” he said. “[The graduating varsity players] did the same things when they were freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.” 

Coach Seaburg expects next year to be essentially the same as years past.

“Our kids have a lot of pride, and they want to compete. We still want to win all our games, and we are going to do our best to do that.”