Cary-Grove coach Seaburg's family business is football

Dorothy Seaburg used to have plenty of company for Cary-Grove football games.

In the past, the wife of Trojans coach Brad Seaburg would watch games with their children, Brady, Peyton, Sofia and Kane. But the past two seasons have been a little lonely for Dorothy as the kids chose to leave the stands - of the west end zone of Al Bohrer Field for home games - to be closer to their father.

Brady, a senior, and Peyton, a junior, play on the team. Sofia, a freshman, is ballgirl, and Kane, a fourth grader, patrols the sideline taking videos.

"I don't know what he films, honestly," Brad Seaburg said of his youngest. "I don't even know if the camera works. No, it does, he was asking me about a new battery."

Football is the Seaburgs' family business, and business is thriving.

For the third time since 2018, Cary-Grove will play in the Class 6A state championship game. And this time, all four of Seaburg's children will be on the sideline with him as he leads the Trojans against powerhouse East St. Louis.

The Trojans (11-2) face the Flyers (11-2) for the Class 6A state title at 1 p.m. Saturday at Illinois State University's Hancock Stadium. C-G won the past two state championship games it played in, beating Crete-Monee for the 2018 title and edging East St. Louis two years ago.

"I probably don't appreciate enough right now, in the moment," Brad Seaburg said. "They're all going to be out of high school in three years. It's going to be kind of a moment where I'll sit back and say, 'That was pretty awesome.' "

Brad Seaburg and Dorothy Podgorski began dating at Marengo High School in the mid-1990s. They lived in Huntley from 2002 to 2020, and Brad became successor to former C-G coach Bruce Kay in 2011.

Kay led the Trojans teams that set a tradition in the 2000s, beginning with the Class 7A state runner-up team in 2004. C-G made the playoffs the next 17 consecutive seasons and never lost a first-round game. The Trojans won the Class 6A state championship in 2009.

Seaburg will coach in his fifth state championship game Saturday and has a 124-28 record in 14 seasons at C-G.

Fortunately for the Seaburgs and C-G, the children cast a decisive vote a few years ago when Brady was about to enter high school.

"Brad said, 'I'm not going to coach when Brady goes into high school, I want to watch my boys play,' " Dorothy Seaburg said. "All the kids were like, 'No. You're not going to stop coaching. We're moving to Cary.' I was like, 'OK, I guess we're moving to Cary.' I'm glad they have this time together. It's special."

Brady played flag football before high school, and his first season of tackle football came as a freshman at Cary-Grove. He is a reserve wide receiver for the Trojans.

Peyton became the starting quarterback last season, one in which C-G went 3-6 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2004. They were hit hard by graduation from the 2021 state championship team, then hit hard by injuries to many of the players who returned from that team.

This season, Peyton Seaburg has run the C-G triple-option offense proficiently as the Trojans have put up 167 points in four playoff games and won all four by three scores.

Sofia runs cross country and is in her second season as ballgirl. And Kane sets his phone on a monopod for games to take videos that he later downloads onto his laptop.

"He likes being a part of the sideline, and if I notice him it's probably not good because he's messing around," Brad Seaburg said. "So hopefully I don't notice him too often."

Through the years, Dorothy Seaburg gradually had fewer of her children with her at games. In 2014, Brady was water boy, and the Trojans were Class 7A runners-up. The next season, he was promoted to ballboy, and Peyton took over as water boy.

This is Sofia's third season as C-G's ballgirl, which makes her father proud.

"When she got into high school she was kind of on the fence about being the ballgirl or being a fan," Brad Seaburg said. "I'm really happy she is the ballgirl again. Sometimes, at the end of the game, we have a moment and I ask how the game has gone for her."

Brady, who is one of the top students in C-G's senior class, is thrilled that he made the decision to try tackle football when he came to C-G. He started on Twitter in 2015 with a page called @FBStadiumsUSA, which has 400-plus pictures from stadiums in 22 states. Brady plans on studying economics or political science next year in college.

"The biggest lesson I've gotten out of football is that perseverance through pain is a great builder of confidence and capability under pressure." Brady Seaburg said. "There's not many things in life that prepare you for adulthood and facing challenges every day like sports, and I believe that truly. Football especially.

"The consistency of showing up to practice every day, even when you're sore, even when there's all sorts of adversity, that consistency carries over into future lives of people who play football."

Peyton grew up playing tackle football in the Huntley Mustangs program. He grew from 140 to 170 pounds with a lot of weight room work in the offseason. As a freshman, he was suited up on the sideline for the 2021 championship game, but he did not play.

"It's pretty special," Peyton Seaburg said of his family's situation. "Not many families can have that relationship on the sideline during a season. Having your dad as coach helps.

"I interact with my sister [during games] because she's the ballgirl. I'll talk to her sometimes. It's just kind of cool having the whole family out there."

Dorothy Seaburg actually does not mind being by herself during games. She watches her husband and the quarterback.

"I tend to be a loner," she said. "The only people I really talk to are other coaches' wives. I hang out with Amy Passaglia [whose husband, Ryan, is an assistant coach] the most.

"Peyton's a quiet kid, so I'm pretty good at reading him. He doesn't talk much. I can see in his actions what he's feeling, if he's down or if he's happy. You get nervous watching one and get nervous watching the other one ... my heart can only handle so much, I guess. That's why I don't talk to anybody. I'm focused on the game. 'Nobody talk to me right now.' "

Steven and Merri-Lynne Seaburg are there for all the games, as are Stanley and Theresa Podgorski, to see their grandson and his father at work.

"From a practical standpoint, it's been great for our family," Brad said. "Having [Brady and Peyton] both play has really brought our family together, with both sides of the family. They're always at the football games. It's kind of a way for everybody to have a common bond. That's been really nice."

Cary-Grove's Peyton Seaburg picks up some yards last week against Lake Zurich. Seaburg's dad is Cary-Grove's coach, his older brother plays wide receiver, his younger brother is on the sidelines videotaping games, and his sister is one of the team's ballgirls. Gregory Shaver/Shaw Local
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