Hersey is hoping this is the turnaround season it has been waiting for.
After missing the high school football playoffs the last two seasons, confidence is high in Arlington Heights thanks to 13 returning starters and a quarterback that has drawn interest from various FCS-level colleges.
Add in a hall-of-fame former head coach turned defensive coordinator and it is easy to see why confidence is very high.
"We have some guys with some good experience coming back," Hersey coach Joe Pardun said. "We are hoping to stay healthy and go from there."
The Huskies are coming off consecutive losing seasons and were 3-6 a year ago. They struggled a bit defensively last year, and when Hoffman Estates coach Mike Donatucci retired following last season, Pardun jumped at the chance to have his former mentor on his staff.
"It has been fun," Pardun said. "It has been in the back of my mind that I wanted to coach with him so badly. I am just so darm excited when he came over here. We are running his stuff and that frees me up, which is nice."
Donatucci inherits a defense that was young and inexpeinced a year ago, allowing over 30 points per game. But that group has grown up and Pardun expects big things from them.
The strength of that defense will be its linebacking corps of Nick Wiley, Caleb Augustyn and Colton Kamysz. The trio started last year and figures to be instrumental in the Huskies' 4-3 scheme.
Tim Somary and Owen Goldsberry return at the corners, giving Hersey run-stopping and pass coverage. Zach Karman, Luke Cecala, Vince Carso and Jordan Hansen will also figure in the defensive backfield.
Jake Mailloux and Nick Steger will be at the defensive ends, while Konstantino Mantas and Dan Roszkowski will be in the middle of the defensive line.
While Goldsberry will play on defense, all eyes will be o him when he plays quarterback. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was an all-area choice last season. He was 98-of-175 passing for 1,461 yards and 9 touchdowns, and Goldsberry also rushed for 538 yards.
That dual-threat skill set has earned him offers from seven FCS schools including Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, South Dakota, North Dakota, South Dakota State and Indiana State.
"Owen hasn't made a decision because he wants to focus on the season," Pardun said. "He is committed to this team and these guys. Obviously he is a huge component in our offense."
Teams that key on Goldsberry will have a difficult time since Hersey returns both of its running backs from last season. Nick Wiley and Luke Cecala give Goldsberry some options when the Huskies go to the ground game.
They will have three returning linemen to run behind in Will Ebert (6-2, 260), Brandon Watson (6-1, 220) and Jake Mailloux (6-4, 225). Austin Korba (6-0, 215), who is a sophomore, and Ryan Derrig (6-2, 205) and Luke Roos (6-4, 290) also figure in the picture.
Karman, Kacper Rutkiewicz, Carso and Alex Karbov are a bit inexperienced. But Pardun feels they are coming along well and give Goldsberry and the Huskies targets to throw to.
"We are excited about the team," Pardun said. "They have a good attitude and are excited to play."