No one who watched last season’s Class 6A state championship game will ever forget it. The game will be remembered for decades. Cary-Grove beat mighty East St. Louis with an astounding display of discipline and toughness.
It was the performance that every high school football coach dreams about. The Trojans reached the summit of Illinois high school football, finishing as undefeated state champions and the top-ranked team in the final Super 25.
Most of those players are in college now and there is only one direction to go when you reach the top: down. But Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg is starting a new adventure, one that every dad treasures. He’s coaching his son Peyton, the Trojans’ starting quarterback.
“He’s a normal Cary-Grove kid,” Brad Seaburg said. “It’s been good so far. He’s trying to improve just like everyone.”
Peyton Seaburg and the Trojans’ offense didn’t resemble last season’s well-oiled machine, but the defense stepped up and led the way to an 18-0 win against visiting McHenry on Saturday.
“We’ve improved every week and that’s been our whole goal,” Brad Seaburg said. “Our defense took huge strides today. They played outstanding. Gavin [Henriques] has three interceptions in the last two games.”
Cary-Grove (3-1, 3-1 Fox Valley) grabbed four interceptions and forced a fumble. Linebacker Charlie Ciske, just a sophomore, had two sacks. He’s one of several young players stepping up on varsity for a tradition-rich program.
“It’s a lot to take in but I’m so happy to be part of it,” Ciske said. “What I’m learning impacts more than just football. It helps you be more mentally, emotionally and physically tough and just a better, stronger person overall.”
Colin Desmet had 11 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown. The senior running back/linebacker also snared an interception.
“A lot of kids are stepping up into new roles this season so it’s been a process,” Desmet said.
Desmet’s one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter opened the scoring. Seaburg threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Desmet in the third quarter to make it 12-0. The Trojans missed all three extra-point kicks.
Seaburg was 3-for-7 passing for 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
McHenry quarterback Dominick Caruso threw the four interceptions but also made a lot happen. The senior was 14-for-27 passing for 245 yards. Jacob Zarek had six catches for 166 yards for the Warriors (0-4, 0-4).
“McHenry played well,” Seaburg said. “They played hard and tackled real well. We couldn’t get anything sustained offensively.”
Expectations are always high at Cary-Grove, but this is likely a rebuilding year. Jacobs and Prairie Ridge are the Fox Valley leaders so far.
The Trojans play at Prairie Ridge on Friday. It’s a huge rivalry and traditionally one of the biggest games in Class 6A every season.
“There’s a lot of things about that game,” Seaburg said. “It’s two quality high schools and two programs that have historically had success. I know our kids look forward to it and our fans do too.”