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No. 15 Cary-Grove scored early and often against St. Patrick Saturday en route to a 49-21 win in the second round of the IHSA Class 6A playoffs.
The Trojans three-man senior wrecking crew of quarterback Quinn Baker and running backs Ryan Mahoney and Kyle Norberg combined for 484 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
Norberg, who rushed for 217 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries, set the pace with a 75-yard scamper on the Trojans first possession that put his team up a score.
"It was good, scoring on that first play. It really set the tone for the rest of the game," Norberg said.
With all three runners healthy, the Trojan offense caused headaches for the Shamrocks.
Mahoney rushed had 81 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and Baker (1-for-3, 23-yard touchdown pass) rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
"The last few games have shown the diversity in our backfield with so many playmakers, you get them all going and they just can't stop it," Baker said.
Cary-Grove, who scored on its first six possessions, didn't punt the ball until 2:30 remaining in the third quarter with their starters mostly on the bench.
St. Patrick pulled within a seven points in the second quarter after Jeremy Molina (18 carries, 156 yards, touchdown) took a handoff four yards to make the score 21-14.
It didn't take long for the home team to answer, as Norberg took a reverse 37 yards for a touchdown on third-and-25.
Turnovers were the difference in the game. St. Patrick fumbled twice in the first half, the second of which set Cary-Grove up with a long field and three minutes remaining in second quarter.
An onside kick gave the ball back to the Trojans, who put the game out of reach 42-14 on a quarterback keeper by Baker.
"We were able to get it back and figured why not take a shot at it," Cary-Grove head coach Brad Seaburg said. "To score with ten seconds left and get the ball back after half was a big confidence booster."
With the second round out of the way Cary-Grove now turns its attention to Crystal Lake Centra, which advanced after defeating Grant 30-13 on Friday.
"They've got some big, big guys and a level of physicality that would give any team trouble," Seaburg said. "We're aware of what they have and we'll just have to prepare."