CARY – Just when it seemed like a stellar defensive effort was about to unravel in the game’s final minutes, Huntley somehow found a way to keep its poise and make an incredible defensive stand.
The Red Raiders stopped Cary-Grove quarterback Peyton Seaburg on the 7-yard line as time expired for a dramatic 17-14 Fox Valley Conference victory at Al Bohrer Field.
After cutting a 17-7 lead to the game’s final outcome, the Cary-Grove defense held and took over at its own 29 with less than three minutes to play. The Trojans (3-3, 3-3) marched downfield thanks to three key plays: a 14-yard run by Andrew Prio on fourth-and-12, a 13-yard pass from Seaburg to Jake Hornok, and a 26-yard reception by Prio that took the ball to the Huntley 8.
After using its final timeout, Cary-Grove tried Prio around the end, but he was stopped. As the final seconds ticked down, Seaburg was stopped at the 7 and time ran out before Cary-Grove could run another play.
“That last 30 seconds was the most intense football I’ve ever played in,” said Raiders defensive tackle Adam Tramuta. “We stayed cool, we stayed focused and we came together when it counted most. They’re a great team and we knew they’d make big plays. We just stopped them when it counted.”
For the first three quarters, Huntley (5-1, 5-1) held Cary to 189 total yards, however, the Trojans found their offensive stride in the fourth, amassing 134 yards, 96 of those on the ground. For the game, Cary-Grove finished with 318 total yards, 205 of which came on the ground.
“Relieved,” Raiders coach Mike Naymola replied when asked how he felt moments after the frenetic contest. “For us to come to Cary-Grove and play toe-to-toe with a team that is the standard of high school football in Illinois says a lot about our kids. I respect everything about what they do here, but we showed a lot of resolve and we were brave enough to believe we could do it.”
After Mykal Kannelakis caught a tipped pass for a 27-yard score from Seaburg (5-for-11, 113 yards) to give the hosts a 7-0 first-quarter lead, Huntley responded with a 26-yard Mason Wojtas field goal and a 15-yard TD pass from Sam Deligio (8-for-15, 54 yards) to Logan Mikutas for a 10-7 lead. The Raiders increased that lead to 17-7 on a two-yard scoring run from Zach Rios with 3:17 left.
Cary-Grove got within the final score on a one-yard scoring plunge by Holden Boone with 7:44 to play. The Raiders’ ensuing drive ended with a punt that set up the gameś final dramatic moments.
“Ẅe had two plays called down there and when we didn’t score on the first play we had a pass play that would either have been a touchdown or an incomplete pass,” Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. “Peyton saw something that told him he could score, but Huntley stopped us. But I told our kids: you’re Cary-Grove kids and you played hard until the end and never gave up.”
Huntley wound up with 223 total yards. Haiden Janke carried 19 times for 79 yards. The victory keeps the Raiders in a three-way tie with Jacobs and Prairie Ridge for first place in the conference. Jacobs and Cary-Grove square off next Friday night in Algonquin.