CARY – Unbeaten Cary-Grove was firing on all cylinders during its Fox Valley Conference home game against Hampshire on Friday night.
The Trojans (3-0, 3-0), who entered play ranked third in the latest Class 6A Associated Press poll, racked up 485 yards of total offense, en route to a commanding 49-0 victory.
A whopping 333 of those yards came in the first two quarters, as C-G held a 42-point lead by halftime, and had five sacks during that span. That included a pair by senior defensive tackle Addison West, who is also a guard on offense.
"When we watched Hampshire on film, there were some things we saw them doing on both sides of the ball at the line of scrimmage we felt we could exploit," West said. "That's where all of our success begins, with our offensive and defensive lines."
Junior running back Blake Skol (8 carries, 85 yards) led the way with three first-half rushing touchdowns, while teammates Zach Perrone (4 carries, 64 yards) and Nicholas Hissong (12 carries, 56 yards) helped C-G to 379 yards on the ground.
"Three touchdowns is a career-high for me at the varsity level," Skol said. "Last season, I only played defense, with the exception of one game when I was an injury replacement ... so this is only my third time starting in the backfield. I'm just thrilled I was able to contribute and help my team get the win."
Senior quarterback Ben McDonald had a strong game as well. He ran the ball just four times in the Trojans' option offense, yet still tallied 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns. McDonald was also 5-of-6 passing for 87 yards, including a 32-yard TD pass to Quinn Priester late in the first half.
"Ben's ability to read and react to situations quickly has been a huge asset to our team this season," C-G coach Brad Seaburg said. "This was a real team win tonight, with a ton of guys contributing. I feel that's because of how serious these guys take every rep during practices. They come to games prepared and focused on the task in front of them, one game at a time."
When the third quarter began, the Trojans had a running clock, and substituted their second-team players in on both sides of the ball for the rest of the game. But even their subs managed to outscore Hampshire's first-string starters by a touchdown during the final 24 minutes.
Hampshire (0-3, 0-3) managed just eight rushing yards and 56 passing, and has faced a brutal schedule to open the season. Prior to Friday's loss, they'd already also faced FVC powers Jacobs and Prairie Ridge.
"We certainly haven't had it easy so far, but at the same time, games like our first three should only serve to make us more prepared for the next six," Hampshire coach Jake Brosman said. "Our guys battled out there, but that's a darn good football program over there.
"The question for us will be, where do we go from here? Do we learn from these losses and get better? It's all about preparation. We need to do a better job of being prepared every week. Just because our schedule has been tough doesn't mean it's automatically going to get easier. Not in this conference."
Star of the Game
Cary-Grove, jr., FB/LB
Skol scored all three of his career-high three rushing touchdowns in the game's first 12:41.
Hampshire 0 0 0 0 – 0
Cary-Grove 21 21 0 7 – 49
CG-Skol 4 run (Splitt kick), 10:19
CG-McDonald 6 run (Splitt kick), 7:46
CG-Skol 11 run (Splitt kick), 1:21
C-G-Skol 41 run (Fadden kick), 11:19
C-G-McDonald 44 run (Fadden kick), 6:11
C-G-Priester 32 pass from McDonald (Fadden kick), 3:42
CG-Rohrbach 2 run (Splitt kick), 3:21