Cary-Grove football coach Brad Seaburg displayed nothing but admiration for his team after its heartbreaking 17-13 loss to Prairie Ridge in a Class 6A second-round playoff game Saturday.
The No. 9-seeded Trojans (7-4) almost pulled off the upset against the top-seeded Wolves, the defending 6A state champions, before quarterback Samson Evans raced 66 yards for the winning touchdown with seven seconds remaining.
“We’ve got a team full of warriors, and they just came up a little short today,” Seaburg said.
Seaburg was more than appreciative of how his team battled all season, from Saturday’s performance to the way the Trojans fought through injuries the entire season.
C-G had its initial starting backfield in place for only the season opener after running back Adam DeAlba went out with an injury. In Week 5, things got worse when fullback Max Skol (knee) and running back Danny Daigle (shoulder) both went out. Max Buss and Michael Boyd filled in well in their absence, but Buss bruised a shoulder the next week and also missed a game, forcing sophomore Blake Skol in at fullback.
“Our team just battled all year,” Seaburg said. “They just battled from the start. I was listing off all the guys that were injured. I mean, we had guys that were injured the whole year, and very few guys ever missed practice.”
Seaburg singled out offensive lineman Cadin Koeppel for his toughness in coming back from a torn ACL suffered in February while wrestling.
“I can’t say enough about Cadin’s warrior mentality,” Seaburg said. “He tore his ACL in wrestling in February and came back and played.
“Who comes back in five months from a torn ACL? That’s Adrian Peterson-like. That’s the type of kids we’ve got here.”
• Kyle Nabors contributed to this report.