Unbeaten Hersey tops Elk Grove; Meadows up next
It helps to have a kid like Hersey's Jordan Hansen on your football roster.
His Friday night started with the 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior taking a swing pass 52 yards from Ryan Justice to set up his own 1-yard TD run at home against Elk Grove.
Then he bolted 54 yards, skillfully eluding tacklers on the Huskies' next possession, this one for a touchdown. Later, he took a 55-yard toss for a TD, getting behind Elk Grove's secondary with his thunderbolt speed, for another touchdown.
And that was in the first half alone of a 50th anniversary homecoming celebration.
It added up to a 43-10 win for Hersey in a game that started Friday and ended Saturday because of Friday night's severe weather. It sets up next week's showdown in the Mid-Suburban East versus unbeaten Rolling Meadows. Hersey is too at 7-0, 3-0.
Hansen, for his part, said he felt OK after the overnight delay in finishing the game and is ready for Meadows.
"I feel good, really rested," he said of playing half the game on consecutive days. "Now we have to stay focused, fix the little things."
None of which will be little against Meadows, to be sure, head coach Joe Pardun said.
"We're excited about it," he noted. "We have to play at their level. It's going to be a tough football game."
Against a very game Elk Grove team, Hersey sped to a 35-3 halftime lead on Jansen's jaunts and jukes, plus the tough running of Thomas Quirk, the 5-7, 175-pound wrecking ball who finished with 58 yards on just 7 carries.
Kasper Rutkiewicz made his presence felt, moving adroitly to score on a 29-yard TD toss and somehow gaining 20 yards exactly on a 4th-and-20 play on a perfect spiral toss from Justice (6-for-8, 189 yards) in the first half.
Meanwhile, the defense, paced by Blake von der Lippe and Nick Steger, was able to come up with stops when they needed to against an Elk Grove offense that came prepared and moved the ball. But drives lasting 5-and-a-half and 5 minutes, respectively, in the first half, yielded just 3 points, on an Antonio Sandoval 32-yard field goal. His next attempt was blocked.
Elk Grove's (1-6, 1-2) game plan, those aforementioned drives as evidence, was to keep Hersey's offense off the field, eat time and hopefully score.
Although the Grens finally scored a TD on an Ian Ridge 3-yard run, the strategy worked, except for the failure to capitalize in the red zone and Hersey's ability to score like lightning, time of possession notwithstanding. Ridge epitomized the strategy with some tough running (21 carries, 94 yards), but quarterback Charles Janczak was under constant, intense pressure.
"We're trying to change the culture. The kids are focused. They're trying to get over to a new mentality," said Grens coach Miles Osei, a former all-MSL quarterback himself at Prospect.
But it's all eyes on getting ready for Meadows now for Hersey.
"I have to sharpen my focus in practice," said Hansen.