CARY – The feeling McHenry experienced against Cary-Grove was that of helplessness.
On offense, the Trojans could not be stopped. On defense, they would not budge.
Improving each week and building momentum through a season is something for which teams strive, and C-G has done it masterfully. The Trojans, who start only six seniors on both sides, rolled past McHenry, 48-14, on Saturday at Al Bohrer Field for their fourth consecutive Fox Valley Conference Valley Division victory.
C-G (4-2 overall, 4-0 FVC Valley) racked up 334 yards of offense, while allowing 26, by halftime. The Trojans’ first-team offense played one series into the third quarter before being pulled and finished all six of its drives with touchdowns.
The win sets up C-G and Jacobs (4-2, 3-0) in a battle for first place in the division at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Jacobs.
“We blocked well today,” Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. “We were able to sustain drives and finish drives that we didn’t do against Prairie Ridge (a 6-0 victory last week). Our emphasis was on everybody doing their job. For the most part, it seemed like we did that and put some points on the board.”
Freshman fullback Tyler Pennington, starting his third game, put up big numbers again. Pennington finished with 20 carries for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s getting a lot of the tough yards and he’s running hard,” Seaburg said. “He’s getting more confident. We’re hoping the pieces are starting to fall into place.”
Pennington had only one carry in the second half, for 16 yards, before the second-team offense took over.
“The linemen have been doing a great job,” Pennington said. “They’re consistent every week out there and that’s really who I have to thank.”
Quarterback Jason Gregoire ran for two touchdowns and running backs Zach McQuade and Matt Sutherland each added one. McQuade was supposed to be a starter at the beginning of the season, but missed five games with a broken collarbone.
Backup fullback Zach Forney scored C-G’s last touchdown on a seven-yard run.
“We could not stop their fullback,” Warriors coach Dave D’Angelo said. “The kid’s amazing. He’s a freshman? They brought their two (NCAA) D-I linemen (Trevor Ruhland and Michael Gomez) and we couldn’t handle them. They’re physically superior to us.”
McHenry (2-4, 0-3) also was missing several players who are recovering from concussions and had two starters – safety Cody Patchett and running back Jordan Johnson – who must miss two games for disciplinary reasons.
The Warriors would have had trouble keeping up with C-G even at full strength. They did end the Trojans’ string of scoreless quarters at 10 when quarterback Mike Briscoe dived in from the 1 in the third quarter.
“We definitely played low, played fast and got to the ball,” C-G defensive end Joey Maxwell said. “We played the way we normally do. People look at us and we’re small [on defense], but we show them with our speed and our physicality that we do what we have to do.”