The scenario is shaping up nicely for Cary-Grove’s football team.
Not only are the Trojans getting their injured players back at the most opportune time, they also slipped into Class 6A when the IHSA football playoff pairings were announced Saturday night.
The next bit of business is deciding on a time and date, and C-G coach Brad Seaburg will aim for tradition there.
“We’d like to play Saturday at 1 p.m., unless [Rockford Auburn] objects,” said Seaburg, whose unbeaten team is the No. 1 seed in the northern half of Class 6A. “I really like the Saturday games.”
It’s been a Trojans’ tradition since winning the Class 6A state championship in 2009 to look for 1 p.m. Saturday games. That C-G team played all its playoff games at 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
C-G, with 42 playoff points, was the second-ranked team in the state, behind Kaneland, which also was 9-0 and had 44 points. Kaneland dipped into Class 5A and took the top spot in the northern half, with Marian Central (9-0) taking the No. 2 spot.
C-G has been the cream of the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division and beaten all its opponents by at least 14 points. The Trojans have running back Ryan Mahoney and offensive lineman Michael Gomez back from leg injuries and quarterback Quinn Baker (broken finger on his left hand) is next. Seaburg plans on Baker being in the lineup to face No. 16 Auburn, which is 5-4 and coached by Dan Appino, who took Boylan to back-to-back state titles the previous two seasons.
“If everything goes well, we think Quinn will be back,” Seaburg said. “We feel good about where we’re at. If we play Saturday, that gives Quinn an extra day, too.”
Crystal Lake Central (7-2) earned a No. 4 seed in Class 6A and play host to No. 13 Chicago Hyde Park (6-3). Woodstock North (6-3) lost to Grayslake North on Friday, but got a No. 7 seed in Class 5A and plays host to No. 10 Sterling (6-3).
“We’re happy about [a home game],” North coach Jeff Schroeder said. “We’ll play whoever’s in front of us. We feel good about the draw and about our team.”
Crystal Lake South (6-3) nearly fell into Class 6A with an enrollment of 1,888. The Gators are the smallest 7A team. They have a No. 11 seed and will play at No. 6 Lake Zurich (7-2). No. 10 Huntley (6-3) plays at No. 7 Fenwick (7-2) and No. 15 Jacobs (5-4) plays at No. 2 Boylan (9-0).
“Cary beat Lake Zurich (21-6 in Week 2) about the same score as they beat us (17-3 in Week 3), so we’ll see,” Gators coach Chuck Ahsmann said. “We feel like we have a shot, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Class 4A state runner-up Richmond-Burton (6-3) is a No. 6 seed in its quadrant and plays at No. 3 Chicago Harper (7-2). No. 10 Alden-Hebron (6-3) will visit No. 7 Forreston (7-2) in Class 1A.
Harvard won four of its last five games to reach 5-4, but the Hornets had 36 playoff points and were seven spots from making the cutoff, which was 38.