Cary-Grove beats rival Prairie Ridge in ‘four-yard war’on April 10, 2021 at 11:13 pm

Saturday was a lousy day to watch football, starting out gray and dreary before a steady rain settled in after halftime at Cary-Grove.

But Nick Hissong loved it.

“It’s definitely Cary fullback weather when it’s nice and slippery out,” the 6-1, 230-pound junior said. “We had a lot of practices this week where it was really cruddy like this. It sure helped.”

Running behind a line of Nathan Gamez, Zach Stolz, David Villarreal, Joey Swanson, Niko Neckopoulos and Noah Riley, Hissong rumbled for 114 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-7 Fox Valley win over Prairie Ridge.

The touchdowns came in a 68-second span of the third quarter, sandwiched around Villarreal’s recovery of a fumbled kickoff. They turned a 7-0 deficit into a 14-7 lead for No. 19 Cary-Grove (2-0, 2-0), which hadn’t played since March 20 after being sidelined by COVID-19 protocols.

Hissong wasn’t sure how he kept his balance on the first score, a 20-yarder that featured a few broken tackles. “I just kept running and ended up in the end zone,” he said.

Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg, in his 10th season, considers it a luxury to have a big body like Hissong as a focal point for his offense.

“Since I’ve been the head coach, we’ve never had a fullback that’s 230 pounds,” Seaburg said. “He’s a big guy, He also had some fantastic blocks as well.”

Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp knew his defense would have its hands full with Hissong.

“He’s the prototype fullback for this offense,” Schremp said. “We preached to these guys all week, it’s a four-yard war against Cary and let’s battle it out — who’s going to gain or lose four yards. … That’s how it always is. Unfortunately today they won a few more of those wars than we did.”

Cary-Grove's Andy Ciske (6) picks off a pass in the fourth quarter against Prairie Ridge.
Cary-Grove’s Andy Ciske (6) picks off a pass in the fourth quarter against Prairie Ridge.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The Trojans also had an 11-yard TD run by quarterback Jameson Sheehan in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 20-7. It was set up by Andy Ciske’s interception.

That was part of a big day for the Cary-Grove defense, which held Eastern Michigan-bound Carter Evans to 76 yards on 16 carries. He’s the last of three Division I brothers to play for the Wolves after Shane (Northern Illinois/Purdue) and Samson (Iowa/Eastern Michigan).

“I told him after the game, ‘I am so glad your family is done at PR,'” Seaburg said, “For 10 years, there’s been an Evans playing in that program. He’s just a tremendous player.”

The Wolves (2-2, 2-2) scored on one of the longest plays from scrimmage this season by any team in the state.

Will Komar caught a short pass from Taidhgin Trost and turned it into a 98-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.

Trost threw for 140 yards, with Komar catching three passes for 120.

“Turnovers in the second half killed us,” Schremp said. “You can’t make those mistakes against Cary.”

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