By Rick Lytle, Online Editor-in-Chief
After a second quarter that saw two powerhouse offenses shutdown, fans on both sides of the stadium were ready to see the high scoring action resume. Sophomore Ben Clawson delivered when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 79 yards for a touchdown and gave Hersey a 24-20 lead. Behind an electrified Hersey student section, the Huskies seized the momentum and kept it for most of the rest of the night.
The third quarter looked like a different game compared to the back and forth first half. Senior quarterback Jordan Hansen continued to be Hersey’s key playmaker and added to Clawson’s return with two rushing touchdowns. Hersey entered the third quarter down 20-17, and ended it up 38-20.
“[Hansen] is a great player, they’re a great team in general. You can’t give them the situations that we gave them, especially in the second half,” Prosepct Head Coach Dan Debouef said.
Coming into the game, Hansen led all players in the Northwest Suburbs in rushing yards. He lived up to the hype, racking up 237 rushing yards on 29 carries, including five rushing touchdowns.
The Prospect offense was the one to watch in the first quarter. On the first play from scrimmage of the game, junior Gary Moeller rolled out of the pocket and found his favorite receiver of the night senior Matt Meyer for a 66-yard touchdown that caused absolute chaos in the Prospect bleachers. Meyer finished with six catches for 114 yards.
After Hansen responded with a three yard touchdown run to make it 7-7, Prospect struck again. On the first play of the drive, junior Luke Zardzin caught a screen and ran it 59 yards to the Hersey 14. From there, Zardzin punched it in on the next play to give Prospect a 14-7 lead, the third touchdown in the first four minutes of the game. Not far behind Hansen in rushing yards for the season, Zardzin finished with 30 carries for 204 yards.
After another Hansen touchdown run and a 26-yard touchdown reception by Prospect junior Tyson Splinter, Prospect led at the end of the first quarter 20-14. The touchdown pass thrown by Gary Moeller was one of his 19 completions on the night, which totaled 290 passing yards. Zardzin and Moeller, both juniors, combined for nearly 500 yards of offense.
“They’re two great kids, great students and just great people in general. They’re work ethic has gotten them where they are, and it’s exciting that they’re only juniors so we’ll have them for another year,” Deboeuf said.
The second quarter was a defensive battle, with the only points coming from a 29-yard field goal by Hersey junior Max McCall. Junior Wes Neumann had an interception for the Knights and returned it to the Hersey 39, but the Hersey defense made a stand and prevented the Knights from extending their lead.
In the fourth quarter, Hansen ran for his fifth touchdown of the night. Hansen relied on his legs most of the night, finishing just 6-19 for 100 passing yards. The Prospect offense was able to put together a long drive in the fourth quarter, capped off by a three yard touchdown run by Zardzin.
The game finished Prospect (5-1) 28 to Hersey (6-0) 45. While it’s not the result the Knights wanted to see, Deboeuf isn’t too worried about the result.
“You always have to have the mindset that you’re going to learn more from a loss than a win. It sucks that it works that way, but … for us to accomplish where we want to be with our program, I think a little adversity could be good for us,” Deboeuf said.
Prospect will play an undefeated opponent for the second straight week when they take on 6-0 Rolling Meadows next week at home.