"It felt like a playoff game" -- Hersey's broken play TD beats Prospect in OT thriller

  • Hersey's Ryan Stearns runs a kickoff back for a touchdown in the first quarter in a football game against Prospect in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Hersey's Ryan Stearns runs a kickoff back for a touchdown in the first quarter in a football game against Prospect in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's Jack Berman runs the opening kickoff back for a touchdown against Hersey in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Prospect's Jack Berman runs the opening kickoff back for a touchdown against Hersey in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's sidelines reacts to Jack Berman's opening kick run back for a touchdown against Hersey in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Prospect's sidelines reacts to Jack Berman's opening kick run back for a touchdown against Hersey in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect quarterback Brad Vierneisel changes direction to run the snap for a touchdown against Hersey in the first quarter in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Prospect quarterback Brad Vierneisel changes direction to run the snap for a touchdown against Hersey in the first quarter in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Logan Farrell runs for a touchdown after catching a screen pass against Prospect on Friday in Mount Prospect.

      Hersey's Logan Farrell runs for a touchdown after catching a screen pass against Prospect on Friday in Mount Prospect. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's Hersey's Logan Farrell celebrates a touchdown catch against Prospect with teammate Joe Maher in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Prospect's Hersey's Logan Farrell celebrates a touchdown catch against Prospect with teammate Joe Maher in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Carson Grove intercepts a pass in the end zone intended for Prospect's Gabe Smarduch in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Hersey's Carson Grove intercepts a pass in the end zone intended for Prospect's Gabe Smarduch in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's Noah Easter twists his knee as he is tackled by Hersey's Carson Grove in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Prospect's Noah Easter twists his knee as he is tackled by Hersey's Carson Grove in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Gus Damming tries to block a throw by Prospect's Brad Vierneisel in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Hersey's Gus Damming tries to block a throw by Prospect's Brad Vierneisel in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Brett Kersemeier tries to get away from Prospect's Mikolaj Salata in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Hersey's Brett Kersemeier tries to get away from Prospect's Mikolaj Salata in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Brett Kersemeier fries to defend against Prospect's Caleb Smith in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022.

      Hersey's Brett Kersemeier fries to defend against Prospect's Caleb Smith in a football game in Mount Prospect on Friday, September 23, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/23/2022 10:57 PM

Hersey lit a fire to stun Prospect 41-34 in overtime before an overflow crowd of 4,000 Friday.

Hersey turned a bad snap on a field-goal attempt in overtime into a touchdown pass. The Huskies then held off Prospect's scoring opportunity, knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage at the 6-yard line to preserve the victory between a pair of teams that entered the game unbeaten.

 

"It felt like a playoff game," Hersey coach Tom Nelson said. "It was competitive football with two good teams executing at a high level. And you have to take advantage of opportunities when they come."

With the score tied at 34 in overtime, Hersey was on offense first. After three running plays and the ball at the six, the Huskies lined up for a field goal.

The snap bounced on the ground and holder Logan Riley picked up the ball like a shortstop. He rolled to his right and threw the ball to sophomore Logan Farrell.

The 6-foot-6 Farrell caught the ball in traffic and as he was pulled to the ground by three Prospect defenders, stretched the ball over the goal line for a touchdown.

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"The snap went and I hear 'fire,'" explained Farrell. "I turn around and the ball is right there. I go up and get it and then I reach out."

Riley was just as shocked that Farrell scored.

"I've never have thrown a touchdown pass," said Riley, who is senior. "I think I have the worst arm on the team. I heard 'fire.' I get up, roll out, see no one, so I figured I might as well throw it."

To make matters worse for Prospect, they were assessed a penalty on the play. They began their overtime drive on the 25-yard line. And with just four plays to score, the Knights came up just short.

"We didn't play well enough to win tonight," Prospect coach Dan DeBeouf said. "It could have gone either way, but we made way too many mistakes."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hersey (5-0,1-0) was able to exploit Prospect's mistakes.

The Huskies returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns with Ryan Stearns scoring on a 96-yard return and Carson Grove returning another for a 98-yard touchdown.

Grove was also special on defense. The senior had two of the three interceptions. Both were in the red zone, including one in the end zone.

"We had to finish it off strong," Grove said. "I knew I had to get out there and get it done."

Prospect (4-1, 0-1) scored on the game's opening kickoff on a 78-yard return by Jack Berman. The Knights' Brad Vierneisel (7 carries, 109 yards) also scored on a 69-yard touchdown run, a 1-yard sneak and on a 9-yard touchdown catch from Frank Covey. Vierneisel (24-of-35, 247 yards) also threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Covey (13 catches, 178 yards).

Hersey countered with a 4-yard touchdown run by Brett Kersemeier (25 carries, 167 yards), a 7-yard touchdown pass to Farrell from Colton Gumino, and a 5-yard touchdown run by Charles Meister.

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