Week 7: Huntley Red Raiders vs. Cary-Grove Trojans
CARY -- Over the past decade, Cary-Grove's football program has turned into a perennial power in McHenry County under former head coach Bruce Key and current coach Brad Seaburg.
The Trojans have reached the playoffs eight straight seasons, winning the Class 6A state title in 2009 and going 8-3 in 2011 to reach the quarterfinals in Seaburg's first season.
This year's edition is keeping up the tradition. They go into Saturday's Fox Valley Valley showdown with resurgent Huntley at 6-0 to clinch their ninth straight playoff berth. The game will be show on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9. You can also find it around Chicagoland with Xfinity On Demand.
"We've got a good group of seniors and they had a real good offseason," Seaburg said. "They're seeing the results. It's been really good."
Offensively, the Trojans are led by two guys who didn't start at their current positions to begin 2011. Quarterback Quinn Baker took over in Week 5 last year and hasn't looked back. Fullback Kyle Norberg was the nose tackle on defense last year and had never taken a hand-off until June. Both have played extremely well to pace the offense.
Baker has rushed for 610 yards and 13 touchdowns while throwing for 366 and four more scores. Norberg has rushed for 796 yards and eight touchdowns, picking up even more of the slack with starting tailback Ryan Mahoney out most of the season with an ankle injury.
"When we inserted (Baker) into the offense, we really took off," Seaburg said. "He's a great leader. He's more of a running guy in our triple option. Everything that we do starts with him. Norberg has really done a good job of taking to the change in position this year. He's been improving every week. He's really starting to come on as a fullback. He has Division I talent, great balance, great athlete."
Defensively, the Trojans have been stingy the past five weeks after winning a shootout over St. Charles East in the opener, allowing just over seven points per game.
Huntley hasn't reached the playoffs in two years and went 2-7 last year before new coach John Hart took over. But the Red Raiders have been quite a story so far, going 4-2 overall and 4-0 in conference play, many times in dramatic fashion. To make up for a one-point loss to Crystal Lake Central in the opener, Huntley crushed state champion Prairie Ridge and followed that up with nail-biters over Crystal Lake South (20-19), Dundee-Crown (31-28) and Jacobs (34-33).
"We are so proud of the fight in our kids," Hart said. "They could have melted when we lost a close one versus Central and then in the first half against Kaneland (a 52-35 loss) we were down 35-7. We challenged the kids, and they fought their hearts out."
Seaburg said receiver Bryce Beschomer is the best he's seen this season. Beschomer is McHenry County's leading receiver with 30 catches for 577 yards and eight touchdowns.
"He can go up and get the ball," Seaburg said. "They can have a big play at any time just by throwing it up to him."
Jake Lackovic has caught six touchdowns from quarterback Kameron Sallee. Sallee has 915 yards and 15 touchdowns passing to go with 358 rushing yards and 6 TDs.
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- Paul Johnson, CN100 Correspondent
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