Wheeling senior quarterback Jalen Dennis and Elgin senior defense end Herberto Perez have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for their performances in Week 9 of the high school football season.
Jalen Dennis, Wheeling: The senior quarterback had by far the most productive aerial performance of his career, completing 22 of 25 passes for 412 yards with 4 touchdowns as Wheeling punched its playoff ticket with a 40-7 victory over Hersey.
Henry Marchese, Stevenson: With college coaches from Bowling Green and Buffalo watching, the 6-foot-3 senior wide receiver showed off next-level skills. He caught 9 passes for 168 yards and a career-best 4 touchdowns -- all in the first half -- as the Patriots capped a perfect run in the North Suburban Conference with a 47-6 win over Warren.
Eric Mooney, Huntley: This shifty quarterback had a direct hand in 311 of Huntley's 444 total yards in a 44-14 blowout of playoff-bound McHenry. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior used his 4.43 speed to rush for 127 yards on 11 carries, including touchdowns of 1 and 21 yards. Mooney also completed 9 of 11 passes for 184 yards, highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown throw, to help the Red Raiders improve to 6-3.
Alonzo Taylor-Jones, Metea Valley: Needing 135 yards rushing for 1,000 on the season, the 5-foot-6, 165-pound senior running back got that in the first half of a 42-21 win over Lincoln-Way Central. Overall, on 26 carries Taylor-Jones earned personal bests of 240 yards and 3 touchdowns. He scored on bursts of 45, 33 and 4 yards.
Heberto Perez, Elgin: This defensive end's performance helped Elgin snap an 18-game losing streak. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior was all over the field in a 26-20 overtime win against rival Larkin. Perez made 4 solo tackles, assisted on 2 others, posted a sack and 2 tackles for loss and he deflected a pass. To cap it off, he recovered a fumble on the second play of overtime. The Maroons won the game on the next play.
Kyle Buncic, Libertyville: A bunch of Buncic provided a boost for the Wildcats. The senior defensive lineman piled up 2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 3 hurries, helping Libertyville pull out a 17-7 win over host Zion-Benton. The victory was the Wildcats' fifth and earned the defending Class 7A state runner-up an at-large playoff berth.
Nick Delporte, Rolling Meadows: This senior defensive back extended the Mustangs' big-play tradition by returning an interception 40 yards for a touchdown as Rolling Meadows wrapped up a perfect regular season with a 37-13 win at Buffalo Grove. Delporte also contributed 42 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Gianni Frasca, Hinsdale Central: Frasca was key on offense and defense, but the 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior was at his best at linebacker in Hinsdale Central's 21-12 victory over Oak Park that sealed the outright WSC Silver title. Frasca, who also contributed at fullback, notched a team-high 12 tackles including 7 solos.