Cary-Grove knows what it’s like to play into November, making six trips to the state quarterfinals or beyond since 2004 and winning the Class 6A title in 2009.
Now that the Trojans are 7-0, the question has to come up: Does Cary-Grove have another playoff run in its future?
The Trojans look to have the playmakers to make some noise in Class 7A, where they’re ranked No. 6 this week by The Associated Press.
Senior Zach Marszal found three different ways to score a touchdown in Saturday’s 41-14 Fox Valley Valley win over Huntley in Cary. And he also played some lockdown defense on the Red Raiders’ standout receiver, Bryce Beschomer.
Then there’s fellow senior Kyle Norberg, who scored three times himself, including runs of 56 and 73 yards, and also had an interception.
There was more good news this week for No. 22 Cary-Grove (7-0, 4-0 Fox Valley Valley) with speedy senior Ryan Mahoney getting back in the mix after an injury layoff.
“He adds another weapon to our offense,” Marszal said. “He started off the year very good and it was tough to see him go down. … He’s been working hard just to get back on the field. He can really help us make a run.”
But to go deep into the playoffs, the Trojans likely will need to get back senior quarterback Quinn Baker. He helped Cary-Grove open a 27-7 halftime lead, running nine times for 37 yards and completing both of his passes, including a 43-yarder for a touchdown to Marszal.
Baker hurt his left hand before halftime, though, and didn’t play in the final two quarters. “He’s going to get X-rays this weekend and we’ll see what happens,” Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said.
If Baker misses some time, the Trojans could rely more on Marszal, who scored on a 63-yard reverse and ran one of his two interceptions back 30 yards for a score, and Norberg (14 carries, 191 yards).
“It’s an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime,” Marszal said of
his assorted scoring plays. On the reverse, “I was just running as
fast as I could. I saw open grass and it was a race to the end zone.”
“He’s a great athlete,” Seaburg said of Marszal, who’s looking to play college baseball. “He did a great job of playing corner today on their good receiver [Beschomer]. And then on offense for him to run that reverse as far as he did — I didn’t know if he had enough speed. But he made some nice cuts.”
Norberg’s speed isn’t in doubt. His first scoring run, a 15-yarder, came four plays after Huntley (4-3, 4-1) fumbled away the opening kickoff — the first of six turnovers for the Red Raiders. Norberg ran 56 yards for a score on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter and his 73-yarder made it 41-7 midway through the fourth quarter.
It all added up to a dominating win. “They’ve got great playmakers on offense,” Seaburg said of the Red Raiders, who got long touchdown catches from Jake Lackovic (56 yards from Kameron Sallee) and Jake Scalise (49 yards from Blake Jacobs).
“I can’t say enough about the effort we had on both sides of the ball.”
And about the playmakers he has on both sides of the ball.