Hersey 5-0 after routing Prospect
Just when it seemed Prospect's football team was going to take some momentum into the locker room at halftime, Vince Carso had other ideas.
With just 49 seconds left to intermission, a 25-yard field goal by Anthony Santangelo drew Prospect to within 20-10 of Hersey after the Knights had fallen behind 20-0 at a packed George Gattas Memorial Stadium on Friday night in Mt. Prospect.
But Carso returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards to the end zone to build the Huskies' advantage back to 17 points with 35 seconds left and they never looked back in a 55-29 triumph to begin play in the Mid-Suburban East.
The Huskies (5-0, 1-0) scored two more touchdowns -- a 44-yard run by Carso and 34-yard TD catch by Kacper Rutkiewicz from Ryan Justice -- in the opening 2:05 of the second half to take charge 44-10.
Carso also caught a 35-yard pass from Jordan Hansen on a trick play in the first quarter which gave Hersey its 20-0 lead.
But Carso's big kickoff return in the final half -- the first of his career -- was the game-changing play.
"I remember before the play, I told (Thomas) Quirk (2-yard TD run in second half) he better put up a big block, and he did," said Carso, who scored 3 touchdowns in a game for the first time, too. "It definitely gave us momentum. This was out first win in the MSL East. It's our start to the playoffs."
Hersey coach Joe Pardun warned his team about a letdown after the 20-0 first-quarter lead which also included 44 and 22-yard touchdown runs by Hansen, who also raced for a 3-yard TD in the second half.
"Prospect (3-2, 0-1) was tough," he said. "I was impressed with how they battled back. We talked about not letting our guard down, but we did.
"For Carso to come through there before half was big. We've been doing that all season -- finishing halves strong. So it was good to see that again and that one of our seniors (Carso) picked us up. Credit to the players and to the coaching staff to put us in those positions. They work really hard."
Working hard was the offensive line of Austin Korba, Dylan Riley, Campbell Breiler, Matthew Mysza and Jack Blumenfeld which allowed Hersey to pass for 190 yards and run for 232.
Luke Zardzin and Jimmy Martin compiled 110 and 97 yards rushing yards respectively for Prospect. Martin also threw for 105 yards. Michael Shafis scored the Knights' first TD on a 7-yard run.
Zardzin had touchdown runs of 11 and 8 yards while Martin threw a 15-yard TD pass to Tyson Splinter in the game's final minutes.
"Hersey is a really tough team," said Prospect coach Dan Deboeuf. "They're a really talented team and for us to win tonight we needed some things to bounce our way and they kind of bounced the other way.
"But you can't take anything away from Hersey. They came out and played well and we didn't do enough. I thought our kids played hard but we obviously have to clean some things up. We'll go right back to work and move on to the next one."