Fans for Hersey's Homecoming football game Friday night came from as far as California and New York.
They were not disappointed.
The host Huskies outlasted a gritty Buffalo Grove Bison team 20-14 at Roland Goins Stadium in the Mid-Suburban East.
Hersey's defense was the key factor in the hard-fought win.
"I thought our defensive secondary did a great job," said Huskies coach Dragan Teonic. "We didn't play that well up front at times but we can fix that. I thought Jake Mueller and Frank Kalble stood out for us. They both came up with big interceptions to stop their drives."
It was almost not enough as Bison (1-5, 0-2) quarterback Rich Zirngibl was almost the hero.
With Hersey (3-3, 1-1) leading 20-0 and knocking at the door on the Bison 1, Zirngibl picked up a fumble and raced 99 yards untouched with five seconds left in the first half.
"That was a massive mental mistake, " Teonic. "When we fumbled at the goal line and they returned it I think it gave them momenteum for the second half. We turned the ball over twice but the defense picked us up."
Zirngibl tallied the other Bsion touchdown on a 1-yard run on the last play of the third quater to narrow the gap to 20-14. The drive went 44 yards in seven plays. Zirngibl accounted for 39 yards on the drive.
A last drive by the Bison, which started at their 20-yard line, ended on the 50 when a fourth-down pass was incomplete.
"This was tough," said Zirngibl, who was 15-of-32 for 140 yards and two interceptions. "I didn't think we would be were we are record-wise. This was a game we had to win for a chance to make the playoffs but that's over now. I wish I could have done more."
"We played their run and we stopped them pretty well," said Mueller. "We had to contain them and force them to pass. When they did we were ready for them. We knew we had to come up big on their last drive and we did."
"Zirngibl's a one-man show, but that's the problem," said Bison coach Jim Farrell. "Football is a 22-man game. We made a lot of mental mistakes and we dropped alot of balls. We're the heartbreak kids right now."