Moeller, Prospect win MSL East battle with Hersey
Gary Moeller wears jersey No. 2 but in the eyes of Prospect fans on Thursday night, he was No. 1 at George Gattas Stadium.
The senior quarterback/cornerback led his the No. 12 ranked team in Class 7A to a 49-29 victory over No. 11 Hersey in the Mid-Suburban East game that left the Knights at 3-0 and Hersey at 2-1.
Not only did he throw 4 touchdown passes and run for one, Moeller cemented the decision by running back an interception 40 yards for a touchdown with 3:34 remaining.
"We believe in Gary," said Prospect coach Dan DeBoeuf. " We think he is a pretty special player."
It was certainly a special win for Moeller, who had been itching to see time on defense.
"Gary's a stud," DeBoeuf said. "He's been begging to get on the defensive end and I wouldn't let him. Then a couple of guys started to cramp up and he played a little more than we anticipated and he did a great job."
He was great on offense, too, connecting with sophomore receiver Frank Covey for TDs of 60, 55 and 80 yards. He also hooked up with Tyson Splinter for a 21-yard score.
Moeller also scored the first touchdown of the game with a 69-yard keeper and he was the last player in the end zone with his pick-6.
"I've never had a game like this on offense and defense," he said. "This one feels different. This was special. Since I've been here we had never defeated Hersey."
Moeller finished with 338 yards passing and 85 rushing while being protected by linemen Clayton Kamp, Christo Nicolau, Eric Malinowski, Matt Pankauskas and Sam Tsagalis.
"I thought he made some important plays at important times," said Hersey coach Joe Pardun. "We gave up some sacks at important times so credit goes to Prospect."
Getting 2 sacks apiece for Prospect were juniors Peyton Burgh and Charlie Carroll while classmates Ben Sahakian and Tsagakis also had big ones. Sahakian also had a fumble recovery and a booming punt of 47 yards which put Hersey back at its own 7-yard line midway through the final quarter.
Northern Illinois recruit Luke Zardzin, who powered up the middle for a 42-yard TD that put Prospect ahead for good, had to leave the game in the second quarter.
"Luke is good," DeBoeuf said. "He had a little injury but he is feeling good now so hopefully we can get him back. I'm super proud of how our guys rallied around each other when we lost our captain early in the game."
Hersey QB Jimmy Makuh threw 3 TD passes to Ben Clawson (19, 4 and 5 yards) and one to Ben Randall (6 yards).
"Prospect just played better than us," Pardun said. " We were pretty sloppy and they were not. It seemed every time we got momentum we couldn't maintain it. We've got some things to clean up. It's tough when you've got a shortened season but you have to learn from every week and we'll come back from it."
Burgh and Gino Paredes also had interceptions for Prospect while Max McCall had one for Hersey.
"This is a big-time win for the program," DeBoeuf added. "It's definitely a nice step for us and we'll build on it. We can't wait to get back at it tomorrow."