Scouting the Hersey Huskies
With 13 of 22 starters back from last year, Hersey might be one of the most experienced teams in the area.
The Huskies might also be among the hungriest.
Within Hersey's veterans are a handful of seniors who are three-year starters and have been integral players in playoff runs over the last two years that have each gotten cut off in the second round.
That doesn't sit well with them.
"As exciting as that was for us (to get to the second round), I don't think anyone here was really satisfied with it. Nobody wants (the season) to end," Hersey coach Joe Pardun said. "But we felt like we could have done better. We talked about it a lot this summer.
"We have a handful of seniors who are three-year starters who have been in those playoff games and I know they are hungry and anxious, just like the coaching staff, to get beyond the second round."
Hersey finished 9-2 last season, losing only to Mid-Suburban League East rival Rolling Meadows during the regular season before bowing out in the second round. The Huskies' disappointment was fuel all during the offseason.
"That feeling (of falling short), it carried right into the offseason," Pardun said. "There is definitely a sense of urgency with this group to do more. And mixed with our experience, I think there is some confidence there.
"We're an experienced group. But you always have to learn to come together as a team. Just because you have experience doesn't make you any better than any other team. You've got to keep taking steps forward."
Hersey will do that with eight returning starters on defense and five returners on offense.
Ben Erharbor and Conrad Twardowski anchor the defensive line while Blake von der Lippe and Hunter Luke return at linebacker.
On offense, Jordan Hansen takes over at quarterback after spending last year as a running back and defensive back, and offensive linemen Matt Mysza and Campbell Breiler also return.
The rest of Hersey's returning starters could play multiple positions on both offense and defense, and they have in the past. They include Alex Kaburov (RB/LB), Jimmy Matanovic (WR/LB), Sam Mayo (WR/DB), Austin Korba (OL/DL), Anthony Cardi (WR/DB) and Max McCall (RB/DB/K).
Hansen, who has college offers from Northern Illinois, Illinois State, Eastern Illinois and North Dakota State, could make an impact at multiple positions like he did last year, but Pardun will keep him exclusively at quarterback.
"Jordan has impressed me with how much he's grown since last year," Pardun said. "He throws the ball well and he's so versatile that he can do a little bit of everything. He's that dual-threat guy and our offense really tries to go with the strengths of the talent we have and who we want to have the ball."
Hansen will have the benefit of working behind an experienced and sizable offensive line, one of the biggest and most veteran lines to grace Hersey in recent history.
Seven of 10 linemen are back from last year, including four of five on offense.
"We have good size on the line, which has not been the norm for us," Pardun said. "This is the most experienced line I've coached. We've got a couple of 3-year guys and that gives us cohesiveness. The linemen have really carried us all offseason and I expect that to continue in the season."