Football notes: Cary-Grove's Michael Gomez now a defender
Cary-Grove football coach Brad Seaburg hinted late last season that guard Michael Gomez’s future might lie on the defensive line.
Gomez lined up on the same side as tackle Trevor Ruhland last year, and the two sophomores were Northwest Herald All-Area first-team offensive linemen after helping the Trojans to the Class 6A state championship game.
While Ruhland (6-foot-5, 263 pounds) already has a handful of NCAA Division I offers, Gomez (6-0, 249) likely was not going to see those as an offensive lineman because of his height.
Seaburg played Gomez in most defensive series in Friday’s 34-0 win against Dundee-Crown. Gomez may play some offensive series – he was in for two Friday – but most of his time will be on defense. The Trojans, as usual, have speed on their defense, but Gomez lends some size in the middle as the heaviest defensive player by far. He also is one of C-G’s strongest players.
The Trojans use Ruhland, P.J. Bardgett, Johnny Klodnicki, Brandon Caccavallo and Scott Topole on their offensive line. And now, D-I coaches can see Gomez where he likely would project at that level.
Scalise returns to practice: Huntley senior running back Jake Scalise left Friday’s game against Crystal Lake Central in the second quarter after taking a helmet to his lower back.
Scalise did not return, but Red Raiders coach John Hart said Scalise would practice this week and play Friday at Dundee-Crown.
Scalise came out of the game and was taken off the field on a cart in the first half. He returned to watch the game on the sideline, then went to a local hospital to be examined after the game. Huntley trainer Quinn Hall wanted Scalise checked for internal bleeding, but it was determined he was fine.
New quarterback: Prairie Ridge sophomore Luke Annen had plenty of time to calm his nerves. With junior quarterback Brett Covalt sidelined with a concussion, Annen had most of the week to prepare for the Wolves’ game Friday against Crystal Lake South.
“At the beginning of the week, I was definitely a lot more nervous. And as the week went on, it got less and less,” said Annen, who helped the Wolves to a 14-9 victory.
Annen certainly played fearlessly against the Gators. The 6-0 sophomore felt like he missed some reads running the option offense, but the Wolves lauded his performance. Senior running back Colin Rempert credited Annen for making the right decisions at the line of scrimmage. It resulted in Rempert rushing for 175 yards on 18 carries, including runs of 56 and 46 yards.
“I can’t even put it into words, speechless,” Rempert said of Annen’s performance in the win. “He just did his job and he’s going to be our starting quarterback, I think.”
Considering how well the Wolves moved the ball against the Gators’ defense in Friday’s win, there’s no guarantee Annen will be bumped from being their starting quarterback. Most importantly, the Wolves did not commit any fumbles, which had been an issue earlier. They fumbled eight times and lost four a Week 3 loss to Jacobs, 20-0.
“We’ll see how it goes,” said Wolves coach Chris Schremp, regarding the quarterback situation. “The nice thing is he jumps in and he knows 75 percent of the playbook right away. It’s just getting him up to the speed of varsity compared to sophomore, and he did it. He did a phenomenal job.”
Ladd still out: Prairie Ridge running back Steven Ladd topped 100 yards in the season opener but suffered a shoulder injury and has not yet returned.
R-B airs it out: Seven passes in a game is not a lot, but for ground-oriented Richmond-Burton, quarterback Danny Rygiel’s 6 of 7 performance was an air show.
Rygiel completed his first two passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns – which was more touchdowns and yards than he had in three previous games. Rygiel was 4 of 11 for 73 yards and a touchdown before Friday.
Rygiel added another touchdown and finished with 222 yards.
“Our main focus so far has been run, run, run, so when I get the chance to throw the ball, I want to do the best I can,” Rygiel said.
It helped that Rygiel had speedster running back Luke Brinkmann to throw to. Brinkmann caught the first two touchdown passes for 70 and 63 yards.
• Jeff Arnold, Meghan Montemurro and Kevin Meyer contributed to this report.