Hansen, Hersey down Prospect to make it 6-0
Try to keep up.
It wasn't easy to do in Arlington Heights on Friday night. It was a downright track meet for awhile at Hersey.
While fans' heads were on a swivel, and the scoreboard operator never got a break, players from Hersey and Prospect could barely catch their breath in a frantic first quarter in this battle of Mid-Suburban League East unbeatens.
Five total first-quarter touchdowns.
Three touchdowns in the first 3:44.
Four touchdowns on the first four possessions of the game, two by each team.
The two best offenses in the conference certainly gave fans everything they could have hoped for.
"It was really good energy early," Hersey quarterback Jordan Hansen said. "Obviously, we don't like giving up points. But a shootout has never been a bad thing."
It certainly wasn't for Hersey this time around.
The host Huskies kept the frantic pace going after halftime, en route to an exhilarating 45-28 Homecoming victory over Prospect.
Hersey, which was down 20-17 at halftime but reeled off 3 unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter to take control, stays spotless on the season and moves to 6-0 overall, 2-0 in the MSL East.
Prospect drops to 5-1, 1-1 in the league.
Hansen rushed in 2 of his 5 total touchdowns in the third quarter (2 yards, 5 yards). But the real momentum-turner came on the first play of the third quarter. Prospect kicked off to Hersey sophomore Ben Clawson, who sprinted his way 79 yards for a touchdown.
"That springed us for sure," Hansen said. "We needed a little bit of momentum and after that, I think we just started rolling, playing our football."
Hersey's brand of football can be a lot of things, particularly with the dynamic Hansen leading the offense.
On this night, running was the weapon of choice.
Hansen was virtually unstoppable. He scored all 5 of his touchdowns on the ground and rolled up 237 rushing yards on 29 carries.
To keep the Prospect defense honest, he sprinkled in 100 passing yards on 6-of-19 attempts.
"He's a competitor," Hersey coach Joe Pardun said of Hansen, who now has accounted for 35 touchdowns on the season. "It's easy to see why he has success. He's very focused and he's always learning and picking things up. I've never seen him satisfied, so there's a lot of confidence there with the coaching staff and his teammates.
"You've got to pick how to stop him. He made good decisions for us and he took care of the ball and good things happen when you do that."
Good things were happening early for Prospect, which hit pay dirt on the first play of the game.
Quarterback Gary Moeller (19-of-41, 290 yards) found Matt Meyer (6 catches for 114 yards) for a pretty 66-yard touchdown pass.
When Hansen answered with a 3-yard touchdown run about 2 minutes later, Prospect running back Luke Zardzin (30 carries, 204 yards) stole the momentum back three plays later with a 14-yard touchdown run.
Hansen tied the game back up with a 15-yard touchdown run and then Moeller threw another touchdown pass, this time a 26-yarder to Tyson Splinter (5 catches, 105 yards), to give Prospect a 20-14 lead and close out the wild first quarter.
"It was such a dogfight," Moeller said. "We were happy with how we came out. We knew we had to get on (Hersey) quick to win and we did. We just couldn't sustain it."
A 29-yard field goal by Hersey kicker Max McCall, the only points in a strangely quiet second quarter, cut Prospect's halftime lead to 20-17, and then Hersey went wild from there.
Both teams each scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 12-yard run by Hansen and a 3-yard run by Zardzin.
"It was a great atmosphere out here tonight with two really good football teams," Prospect coach Dan DeBoeuf said. "It was fun to watch and fun to be a part of. We felt good in the first half but unfortunately, high school football is a big momentum thing and they got a big momentum swing at the beginning of the second half (with the Hersey kickoff return for a touchdown).
"We talk all the time about adversity and how to battle back and we didn't quite battle back the way we should have."