When the regular season ends for Cary-Grove, the Trojans might want to look back at a 98-yard, second quarter scoring drive and a fumble recovery that snapped them out of an early funk and propelled them to a 31-14 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division win against Huntley Friday night.
It might have been a dose of composure the Trojans (5-2, 2-2) needed after watching their first 2 drives go a combined 42 yards on 10 plays against a Huntley (1-6, 1-4) squad that didn't want to go unseen nor unheard after it was eliminated from the playoffs last week.
"Huntley's a physical team," Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. "They came out and played with a lot of energy and passion and I thought we matched it pretty well and played with some composure."
The Red Raiders grabbed a quick 7-0 lead on quarterback Jake Brock's 31-yard throw to John Walker that capped a 9-play, 72 yard opening drive. Momentum looked to be on Huntley's side early when it forced a 3-and-out on Cary-Grove's first possession.
Huntley held that lead into the second quarter and after two unsuccessful Trojan drives, Cary-Grove said enough.
The Trojans benefited on a 47-yard run by quarterback Quinn Baker on second-and-9 on the Trojan 13, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty tacked 15 yards to the play to put Cary-Grove at the Huntley 25. Three plays later, Connor Carlson punched in a 19-yard touchdown run down the left side to tie the game at 7 with 6:48 left.
Huntley's next series turned into gold for Cary-Grove. The Trojans' Brock Bussenger corralled a fumbled snap just 3 plays into the series that virtually gave the Trojans a 14-7 lead once Baker rushed in for a touchdown from a yard out 6 plays later.
"We needed a big play to get this game turned around because (Huntley) came out and scored early on us so we needed a momentum changer," Bussenger said. "We knew they were going to come out strong and play physical."
From there, Cary-Grove cruised. The Trojans outrushed Huntley 329-82, outgained the Red Raiders in total yards 417-261 and watched Baker run 18 times for 172 yards for 2 touchdowns. Baker was also 6 for 12 for 88 yards.
Carlson rushed 14 times for 76 yards and touchdowns from 19 and 5 yards out. His score in the fourth quarter and yardage wore out Huntley, which didn't give up after halftime.
"Last game we ran 60 plays and (Carlson) didn't touch the ball once," Seaburg mentioned. "I'm so happy for him because he usually blocks most of the game."
Huntley closed within 10 midway through the third quarter, and if it had converted a fourth-and-1 from Cary-Grove's 40-yard-line late in the third quarter, the game could have been a different story.
"We make a couple more big plays and get a couple more stops and get a turnover there in the second half, obviously it would have put us in a better position to catch back up," Red Raiders coach Matt Gehrig said.
Huntley's Jake Brock completed 11 of 19 passes for 179 yards, 1 for a touchdown. He also had a 1-yard touchdown run.