Lake Zurich's defense shuts down Hansen, Hersey

  • Lake Zurich quarterback Jack Moses and teammate Luke Mathis begin to celebrate their victory over Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich quarterback Jack Moses and teammate Luke Mathis begin to celebrate their victory over Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's coaches and players celebrate their victory over Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's coaches and players celebrate their victory over Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Jake Robertson and teammate Logan Moskal celebrate their victory over Hersey with their fans in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's Jake Robertson and teammate Logan Moskal celebrate their victory over Hersey with their fans in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Jacob Breeman breaks up a pass play to Hersey's Ben Clawson in the second quarter of the Class 7A football playoff game at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's Jacob Breeman breaks up a pass play to Hersey's Ben Clawson in the second quarter of the Class 7A football playoff game at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses on his way in the first quarter to a 75-yard touchdown run against Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses on his way in the first quarter to a 75-yard touchdown run against Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses on his way for a short gain in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses on his way for a short gain in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses scoots into the end zone for a touchdown against Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses scoots into the end zone for a touchdown against Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses scoots into the end zone for a touchdown and celebrates with teammate Don Volante III against Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses scoots into the end zone for a touchdown and celebrates with teammate Don Volante III against Hersey in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses pass to James Piggott for a one-handed catch had the offense pumped in the second quarter in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses pass to James Piggott for a one-handed catch had the offense pumped in the second quarter in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Justin Quast brings down Ben Clawson in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's Justin Quast brings down Ben Clawson in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich quarterback Jack Moses passes to James Piggott for a one-handed catch in the second quarter of the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich quarterback Jack Moses passes to James Piggott for a one-handed catch in the second quarter of the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen outruns Lake Zurich's Logan Moskal for the possible sack in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen outruns Lake Zurich's Logan Moskal for the possible sack in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen finds the weight of Lake Zurich's defense too much to handle in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen finds the weight of Lake Zurich's defense too much to handle in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen finds the weight of Lake Zurich's defense including Bryan Sanborn too much to handle in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen finds the weight of Lake Zurich's defense including Bryan Sanborn too much to handle in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses delivers to his receiver Hunter Welcing as congestion builds in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Lake Zurich's quarterback Jack Moses delivers to his receiver Hunter Welcing as congestion builds in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen recovers a fumbled snap in the third quarter as Lake Zurich's Jacob Breeman makes sure he stays down in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen recovers a fumbled snap in the third quarter as Lake Zurich's Jacob Breeman makes sure he stays down in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen plays a little hide-and-seek with the ball as the offense and defense do their jobs in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen plays a little hide-and-seek with the ball as the offense and defense do their jobs in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen finds the weight of Lake Zurich's defense too much to handle in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Hersey's quarterback Jordan Hansen finds the weight of Lake Zurich's defense too much to handle in the Class 7A football playoffs at Lake Zurich on Saturday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/9/2019 7:55 PM

Something had to give.

Would it be the stingy defense of Lake Zurich or the explosive offense of Hersey?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hersey entered Saturday's Class 7A second round playoff game at Lake Zurich averaging an eye-popping 48 points per game, one of the highest scoring averages in the suburbs.

Meanwhile, Lake Zurich had allowed a total of just 14 points in the previous three games and 13.5 points per game on the season.

Both the Hersey offense and the Lake Zurich defense have been tough to beat this season.

But this time, in the head-to-head battle, stingy won.

Lake Zurich put a hammer down on Hersey early and often and kept the visiting Huskies off the scoreboard until there were just four minutes remaining in the game.

But by then, it was too little too late and Lake Zurich hung on for a 14-7 victory.

"It was very surreal being out there and seeing that we were just shutting that offense down, knowing how good they are," said Lake Zurich linebacker Bryan Sanborn, who leads his team in tackles and had a huge quarterback sack in the second half.

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"All week, our coaches emphasized how good this (Hersey) offense is. But we understood, as a collective unit, as a defense, how good we are. And we knew that if we kept playing our game against them, we were going to shut them down every time up and down the field. As a unit, we are just physical. Every time, we are going to be more physical than the opposing offense. Every time they come on the field, the opposing offense knows they are going to get hit and we are going to wear them down play after play."

The 20th-seeded Bears, who improved to 8-3, advance to next week's quarterfinal and will host No. 5 Williowbrook (10-1).

No. 4 Hersey closed out one of its most successful seasons in school history with a 9-2 record.

By halftime, Lake Zurich had scored its 2 touchdowns on runs (75 and 19 yards) by quarterback Jack Moses to take a 14-0 lead into the locker room.

At that point, Hersey had mustered just 4 first downs and 83 total yards of offense.

"It's the playoffs, and in the playoffs you have to have a good defense," Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz said. "The regular season is for the offense to put on a show. And the playoffs is when the defense has to show up and play and the offense has to do just enough not to put the defense in bad spots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I really wish our offense could have gotten some points out of the two (promising) drives we had in the second half, but our defense responded and (the two touchdowns) were enough."

What Hersey didn't get enough of was time.

The Lake Zurich offense, which rolled up 349 yards (221 rushing yards and 128 passing yards), dominated time of possession with methodical movement of the chains.

That kept the Hersey offense on the sideline. For the entire first half, the Huskies had the ball for a total of just seven of the 24 minutes.

Overall, time of possession for Hersey was 19 (of 48) minutes. And the Huskies had just 172 total yards.

"It was really frustrating," Hersey coach Joe Pardun said of his team's limited time with the ball. "I figured that's what a team is going to have to do against us is control it, and Lake Zurich really did that."

And Lake Zurich's control of the ball essentially neutralized Hersey star quarterback Jordan Hansen, who did score a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but was handcuffed early and held to just 21 rushing yards and 60 passing yards by halftime.

Hansen, who will be playing at Northern Illinois next year, had been setting school records all season for yardage and touchdowns. Last week in the first round of the playoffs, Hansen had a hand in all seven of Hersey's touchdowns.

For the game, Hansen finished with 72 rushing yards and 90 passing yards. He scored on a 4-yard run with 3:57 remaining.

"We just made sure we kept him in the pocket, because we knew how good he is with his legs," Sanborn said of Hansen. "We knew that if we forced him to beat us by throwing, we had a shot to win this game.

"This was hands down one of our best (defensive efforts) of the season. We are clicking right now. It gives us a lot of confidence moving forward. To hold a team like this to 7 points is just a tremendous effort by us."

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