CHAMPAIGN – Cary-Grove suffered only one notable injury against Crete-Monee, and although it was not devastating, it was just enough to render speedster Ryan Mahoney much less effective than normal.
The Trojans’ senior running back was hit on a punt return late in the first quarter and suffered a bruised left thigh. Mahoney could be seen off and on through the rest of the game trying to stretch out the muscles, but he wound up sitting out most of the second half.
C-G’s best big-play threat finished the game with eight carries for 28 yards, while junior Joey Scott filled in the second half with six carries for 32 yards.
Crete-Monee’s Anthony Cephus took Mahoney down on the return, and Cephus’ helmet hit Mahoney’s thigh. Mahoney sat out a few plays but returned, although he never looked like he had his same burst.
“I hurt my [quadriceps],” Mahoney said. “I got hit and it turned into a really bad Charley Horse. It threw everything out of whack, and I started cramping up and stuff. I tried to keep it loose.”
Mahoney caught a 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, a juggling reception on which he outwrestled defensive back Deon Benton for the ball. He did not play much after that.
“It changed our attack a little bit,” C-G coach Brad Seaburg said. “We really ran a lot between the tackles after Ryan was injured. We were able to mix it up on the perimeter enough though that it didn’t change things too much, but Ryan being out took away a lot of our big-play potential, and we really had to grind out points.”
Get your kicks: Trojans kicker Garrett Glueck had only one field goal heading into the title game but started and ended C-G’s scoring with boots of 32 and 30 yards.
Historically speaking: The Fox Valley Conference is 4-2 in state championship games: Woodstock is 2-0, Prairie Ridge is 1-0 and C-G is 1-2.
All-Staters: Marian Central quarterback Chris Streveler and Prairie Ridge quarterback-safety Sean Folliard were at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium on Saturday to accept their All-State plaques.
Streveler was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 5A All-State team.
Folliard and C-G’s Kyle Norberg were named to the Class 6A team. Norberg was warming up for the championship game and had his father Bill accept for him.