CARY – It’s not something Addison West and his Cary-Grove teammates talk about it, but he’s not the only one to go back and watch how last season ended.
A trip to the Class 6A state quarterfinals. A chance to end Prairie Ridge’s 24-game winning streak and the Wolves’ bid to repeat as state champions. And an opportunity to avenge a one-point loss from
All 19 seconds away.
“One play, and we would have won,” West said.
On a rainy and chilly November afternoon, C-G’s defense lined up with a 13-10 lead and the home crowd still going wild after the Trojans had gone ahead 40 seconds earlier on Ben Ferrell’s 22-yard touchdown run.
Prairie Ridge quarterback Samson Evans faked the handoff and peeled left, staying patient as his teammates set up blocks downfield. Suddenly, Evans burst around the corner, stepping out of one tackle and then leaping over another as he scampered
66 yards down the sideline and into the end zone for the winning touchdown.
Prairie Ridge moved on. Cary-Grove went home.
“Sometimes I’ll watch it over on Hudl,” said West, now a senior on the offensive line. “What could we have done better? I had been playing with those seniors since sixth grade, so seeing them go out like that really hurt me. I’m pushing myself so I can be the best player I can be.”
The Trojans might not talk about the play, but for seniors such as West, Danny Daigle and Max Buss, the heartbreak is serving as extra motivation heading into a new season.
“I think it makes us more hungry to get back out on the field,” Daigle said. “Seeing the seniors’ faces last year after that game, it just makes us want to go back out there, do it all over again and get back to work.”
“Most of the people look at it as ’Dude, work off that. Don’t ever let this happen again,’ ” Buss added. “You should always have it in the back of your mind that anything can happen. You have to be ready for anything. That’s how I look at it. I’m sure that’s how the rest of the team looks at it.”
With the 2018 season now less than two months away, C-G again looks to be one of the top contenders in the Fox Valley Conference along with Prairie Ridge and Huntley.
Daigle and Buss return in the starting backfield along with Blake Skol, and quarterback Quinn Priester will be directing the team’s triple-option offense for a third straight season. West, who is committed to Western Michigan, will anchor coach Brad Seaburg’s offensive line.
The Trojans also have considerable talent returning on defense, particularly at linebacker and defensive back.
That returning experience on both sides of the football should make the Trojans a tough team to beat this fall, which is what Seaburg wants his team focused on.
“As a program, we’ve really moved forward,” he said. “It happened [nine] months ago. You never forget about it, but you can’t let that define you.
“It couldn’t define our season last year. It won’t define our graduating seniors. It won’t define our kids this year. The chapter for this year is still being written.”