Hersey's defense dominates Rolling Meadows
It's true the Hersey High School football team can put a lot of points on the scoreboard. Friday night at Rolling Meadows the Huskies rolled to a final score of 42-7 in Mid-Suburban East action.
The win gives Hersey a 7-0 mark and 3-0 in the conference with games against Wheeling and Elk Grove pending. The Huskies have already qualified for the state playoffs.
The Mustangs fell to 2-5 and 1-2 in conference play.
Overlooked at times but not forgotten is the Huskies defense.
Over their last five games Hersey has given up just 10 points and 36 for the season.
So, what makes this defense so good?
"We play fundamentally sound football," said Hersey coach Tom Nelson. "We're assignment correct and we have a lot of talented players. You also have to be physical at the point of attack."
Rolling Meadows coach Sam Baker was impressed with the Huskies defense which limited his team to 80 yards on the ground - most after the score was 42-0.
"They are very disciplined," said Baker. "Coach (Mike) Donatucci does an awesome job. You're going to get a hard, physical, tough-nosed defense. They are very talented."
Thomas Mulder, Hersey's junior defensive lineman, was a standout among many in the win.
Mulder returned a fumble 71 yards with 4:38 left in the first half for a 28-0 lead.
"I have to give credit to Ethan Sather for punching the ball out of the quarterback's hand. And Andrew Pignataro gave me two good blocks going down the field. I knew I had to take it to the house. We really came together today."
Mulder wasn't through yet.
With 2:11 left he intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the Mustangs' 15 but fumbled while being tackled. Gus Dammann recovered the ball for the Huskies on the 11-yard line.
Carson Grove scored from the 2-yard line with :35 left for a 35-0 lead.
Grove also scored in the first quarter on a 4-yard pass from Carson Gumino for a 14-0 lead.
Grove caught 4 passes for 36 yards.
Nasir Mckenzie (11 carries, 136 yards) started the Huskies off with a 31-yard touchdown run on Hersey's first possession. He later scored on a 19-yard run early in the third quarter for a 42-0 lead.
Gumino threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Charles Meister with 10:33 left in the second quarter.
Rolling Meadows' lone score came on quarterback Colin Ford's 27-yard pass to Sean Kerr midway in the third quarter. Ford completed 10 of 22 passes for 88 yards.
Senior defensive captain Brandon Pflomm knows what makes Hersey's defense so good.
"The coaches put together a great game plan for us," said Pflomm. "My job is to know position as a middle linebacker and others so if I need to I can help. We play physical and fast. We're a brotherhood and we play quick and with confidence. We play to the ball and if we do that good things happen."