Cary-Grove routs Libertyville in playoff opener
After missing the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons last year, Cary-Grove was thrilled to be back in a familiar position.
It didn't take long for the Trojans to find their footing.
Led by explosive big plays from senior running back Andrew Prio, No. 3-seeded Cary-Grove ran for 464 yards on 50 carries and coasted to a 49-6 first-round Class 6A playoff win against No. 14-seeded Libertyville on Friday night at Al Bohrer Field.
Cary-Grove advances to face the winner of Saturday's game between No. 11 Highland Park and No. 6 Chicago Mather.
"After last season, it was a disappointment and a big point of emphasis to get back to where we were before," senior linebacker Connor Anderson said. "I think we took a lot from last season. We didn't want that to happen again."
Cary-Grove (8-2), ranked No. 5 in the final Class 6A Associated Press poll, used its devastating triple-option attack to make life tough on Libertyville (5-5) throughout Friday's game.
Prio led the Trojans with 194 yards and a TD on just 10 carries. He could have had an even bigger game after an 89-yard touchdown was called back on an illegal block in the back near the end of the first half.
Four of Prio's 10 attempts actually went for negative yardage, making his final line even more stunning.
"Andrew's got great vision and he's got great balance," C-G coach Brad Seaburg said. "He's a big play threat for us. [Holden] Boone had a long run for us tonight, too. We've got a lot of speed at [slot back], and you saw that tonight.
"Prio's been doing it all year for us, and Boone's been getting it going recently."
Fullback Logan Abrams (90 yards) had four of the Trojans' seven touchdowns, scoring on runs of 1, 9, 2 and 3 yards. Boone tallied 74 yards, including an 52-yard burst that was stopped at Libertyville's 3-yard line.
Cary-Grove scored its first touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Peyton Seaburg to Jake Hornok, who ran down the sideline and dived for the pylon to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead with 9:03 left in the first quarter.
Cary-Grove led 28-0 at half.
Libertyville coach Mike Jones was impressed by the Trojans' efficiency on offense.
"We haven't seen them since 2014, and that's really hard because we don't play against anyone else like that," Jones said. "They're disciplined and they execute. Whatever you want to do against them, they've seen it before. They have an answer."
The Trojans defense came up with big early stops against Libertyville, including forcing a turnover on downs after four straight incompletions by the Wildcats on C-G's 16.
Later in the first half, Anderson stopped quarterback Quinn Schambow on a fourth-and-1, knocking the ball loose with a recovery by Corey Adams. Gavin Henriques later added an interception.
Cary-Grove held Libertyville to 177 yards of total offense, while the Trojans had 514. Seaburg was most worried about stopping the big-play potential of the Wildcats.
"We got a great rush on them and we were able to minimize the number of big plays," Seaburg said. "This team has scored on so many big plays throughout the year. Once we got them down by two, three scores, I think we were really smelling blood."
Schambow finished 19-of-36 passing for 144 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He completed passes to eight receivers and hooked up on a 32-yard score to Blaise Lavista in the fourth quarter.
Lavista had two catches for 32 yards, Josh Holst had four catches for 39 yards and Charles Clark had 21 yards. Luka Nikolich added 18 yards receiving.
Libertyville suffered tough losses throughout the year, including a triple-overtime loss, an overtime loss and another loss in the final minute of the game.
"This team and these guys meant everything to me," said Schambow, a junior. "It's the best group of guys I've ever played with. This is not how we wanted it to end, obviously. We battled adversity, and that's what we pride ourselves on. Every time we get knocked down, we get back up."
The Trojans have big goals this postseason, but are taking things one step at a time.
"We had a great win tonight, and we're one step closer," Prio said.