Cary-Grove (2-2, 2-0)
at Prairie Ridge (2-2, 1-1)
7:15 p.m. Friday
McHenryCountySports.com’s Lester Johnson breaks down the game:
Cary-Grove scouting report
Offense in gear: Cary-Grove had its best offensive game last week against Dundee-Crown. The Trojans ran for 226 yards and four TDs, including 131 yards by freshman Tyler Pennington. He has almost certainly earned the job at FB after that breakout game. QB Jason Gregoire threw for 133 yards and a TD, as the passing game seems to be improving. C-G faces a Prairie Ridge defense that knows the option because it’s what they run on offense. Trevor Ruhland and the offensive line, Pennington’s ability to produce, and Gregoire’s decision making will be keys to a win in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division play.
Defense moving up: C-G’s defense has allowed just 13 points in the past two games after a shutout against D-C. The Trojans did not allow a first down until the last drive of the first half against D-C. The Trojans’ defenders were all getting to the ball against the Chargers, and that’s what they need to do against the Wolves. They have to stick to their assignments against Prairie Ridge’s offense and sell out against the run. They could face a sophomore QB, and that should work to their advantage. Michael Gomez’s switch from the offensive to the defensive line has also provided a boost.
Prairie Ridge scouting report
Soph QB steps in: Like C-G, Prairie Ridge also got a spark last week from a new starter. Wolves sophomore QB Luke Annen made his first career start for Brett Covalt, who was out with a concussion against Crystal Lake South. Annen made good reads and took care of the ball, a week after Prairie Ridge fumbled eight times and lost four of those. It appears Annen has done enough to keep the starting job, but nothing has been announced. Colin Rempert ran for 175 yards, and Brent Anderson had a big TD in the win over South. Taking care of the ball against C-G will be key, and a big game from the offensive line is a must. RB Steven Ladd topped 100 yards rushing in Week 1 but suffered a shoulder injury, and his return is indefinite.
Defending the Den: Prairie Ridge plays a C-G team that is on a roll and feeling good about themselves. It is up to the Wolves to come out hitting and show some attitude. If the defense can keep C-G from stealing the early momentum maybe they could get them to second guess themselves. Like C-G, Prairie Ridge’s defense knows the option because its offense runs it. Getting a few turnovers would help the Wolves and give them confidence. Prairie Ridge held South to 216 yards and one TD last week.
These two team are similar in strategy. Both run the option offense and both run a 3-3-5 defense. Neither team passes much, but the edge would go to C-G. The Trojans have gained a lot of confidence after their past two wins and will feed off that. The Wolves have scored 14 points in the past two weeks, and that could be a problem.
Lester’s pick: Cary-Grove 28, Prairie Ridge 14
Lester’s other picks
Mendota at Richmond-Burton: R-B by 9
Harvard at Marengo: Harvard by 20
Marian Central at Immaculate Conception: Marian by 14
CL Central at Grayslake Central: CL Central by 13
CL South at McHenry: McHenry by 3
Huntley at Dundee-Crown: Huntley by 5
Hampshire at Grayslake North: Grayslake North by 7
Woodstock at Jacobs: Jacobs by 15
Johnsburg at Woodstock North: Woodstock North by 1