Hersey unleashes all its offensive weapons
Hersey showed off all the weapons in its arsenal as the Huskies rolled over Lincoln-Way Central 52-13 in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs Friday in Arlington Heights.
Hersey will now play at the winner of Saturday's game between Nazareth and Andrew. The date and game time will be announced on Monday.
Hersey (9-1) got a sense of revenge Friday after Lincoln-Way Central eliminated the Huskies 21-7 in the second round of last year's playoffs.
"It helped us playing them last year," Hersey coach Joe Pardun said. "It was a crazy scenario, but we are explosive this year."
That explosion consisted of five different players scoring touchdowns as well as three successful 2-point conversions. Hersey piled up 416 yards of total offense and did not punt.
"We have been playing pretty good," said Hersey quarterback Ryan Justice, who was 12-of-17 for 157 yards, 2 touchdown passes and a conversion pass.
"It has been a lot of fun and we have a great thing going on. We wanted some redemption and we were glad they were coming here again."
Jordan Hansen, who played just on defense last year against Lincoln-Way Central, showed off his offensive prowess against the Knights.
Running behind Matthew Mysza, Bob Reitor, Austin Korbs, Dylan Riley and Jack Blumenfield, Hansen rushed for 119 yards on 20 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. He also ran for a conversion and threw a conversion pass.
"We have a lot of offensive weapons and we have a lot of defensive weapons," Hansen said. "We play as a team and that is what we've got to do to win the ballgame. We want to go all the way and we will do whatever it takes to do that."
Kacper "Ghost" Rutkiewicz became the leading pass receiver in Hersey history, with his 4 receptions for 43 yards. He added a pair of conversion catches which don't count in his official stats. The Illinois State-bound Rutkiewicz also had a huge punt return and an 86-yard kickoff return that set up two Hersey touchdowns.
"We have so many weapons on this team," Rutkiewicz said. "We just have high expectations. Everybody knows what they have to do. That's what we have -- weapons. Vince (Carso) can get the ball. Jordan (Hansen) can get the ball. Even our quarterback can run."
The Huskies also played well defensively, led by Nick Steger, Hansen, Blake von Derek Lippe and Anthony Cardi, who had an interception.
Steger, who had 2 sacks and 7 tackles, also had a 7-yard touchdown reception.
"It was an awesome day today," Steger said. "We knew we had to get some revenge coming back at them. We practice really hard and our goal to get them."
Trevor Schutz got things started for the Huskies when he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to make it 7-0 early in the first quarter. Hersey kept rolling with Hansen's TD runs and Justice's touchdown passes to Steger and a sweet 40-yard bomb to Carso.
"We just have so many weapons on offense," Pardun said. "And our special teams were especially good in the first half as well."