Winning in all phases
CARY – Cary-Grove wide receiver/safety Zach Marszal quickly answered the question, almost without even thinking about it.
No, he had never scored three different ways in one game the way he did against Huntley.
“That’s an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime,” Marszal said.
And it took him only slightly more than 10 minutes of game time to pull off that feat. Marszal caught a touchdown pass, intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown, then raced for a long touchdown on a reverse in the first half as the Trojans rolled past Huntley, 41-14, in their Fox Valley Conference Valley Division football game Saturday at Al Bohrer Field.
The victory puts the Trojans (7-0 overall, 4-0 FVC Valley) alone in first place with two division games remaining.
Huntley (4-3, 4-1) is in good shape to make the playoffs, but saw its four-game Valley winning streak halted.
“Zach is a great athlete,” C-G coach Brad Seaburg said. “He’s a player. He did a great job at corner covering their good receiver [Bryce Beschorner].”
Marszal had two interceptions and the Trojans’ defense made it tough on the Red Raiders, forcing six turnovers, including a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff.
Fullback Kyle Norberg scored on a 15-yard run on the first drive before Marszal scored the game’s next three touchdowns.
“We always take pride in getting turnovers with our defense,” Marszal said. “We know that can change the momentum of a game and we set the tone right there.”
C-G, ranked No. 6 in The Associated Press Class 7A poll, recovered three Huntley fumbles and had one interception to build a 27-7 halftime lead.
“That’s really what we work on all week in practice,” said Trojans nose guard Patrick O’Malley, who forced and recovered a fumble on one play himself. “If you’re the second guy in, our coaches are always yelling for us to be stripping the ball. We knew they were really physical up front, but we were able to use our speed to our advantage.”
Marszal’s first touchdown came on a 42-yard pass from Quinn Baker right after C-G recovered a fumble. He then intercepted Huntley quarterback Kam Sallee at the Raiders’ 30 and ran it in.
Baker then flipped the ball to Marszal on a reverse late in the second quarter and he took it 63 yards for a score.
Marszal also played a big role on defense where he moved from safety to cornerback this week to cover Beschorner, the area’s leading receiver. Beschorner had four receptions for 60 yards, but one of those came on a fake punt, and he did not score.
Norberg, who finished with 14 carries for 201 yards, scored on a 66-yard run on the first play of the second half, then added a 71-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Huntley moved the ball well at times and finished with 358 total yards, but could not overcome the turnovers.
“We told the kids if we don’t turn it over and have self-inflicted wounds, we would have a chance to win,” Raiders coach John Hart said. “That’s the difference between champions and guys aspiring to be that, they don’t make those mistakes. That’s a great football team with great players.”