Hersey’s unstoppable offense rolls past Prospect

Senior Nasir McKenzie had his second straight 200-yard game on Friday as the No. 11 Huskies beat No. 19 Prospect 28-3.

SHARE Hersey’s unstoppable offense rolls past Prospect
Hersey’s Nasir McKenzie (2) breaks a long run against Prospect.

Hersey’s Nasir McKenzie (2) breaks a long run against Prospect.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

How to put together an effective defensive game plan against Hersey is a riddle no opponent has solved this fall.

The obvious focus is on a passing game that includes playmakers all over the field: Northwestern-bound senior receiver Carson Grove and two juniors with multiple Power Five offers — quarterback Colton Gumino and tight end Logan Farrell.

But committing to stopping the pass just opens running lanes for senior Nasir McKenzie, who had his second straight 200-yard game on Friday as the No. 11 Huskies rolled to a 28-3 win over No. 19 Prospect in Arlington Heights.

McKenzie ran 27 times for 214 yards and a touchdown for Hersey (6-0, 2-0 Mid-Suburban East). Gumino ran for a TD and threw scoring passes to Grove and Farrell, finishing 15-of-23 for 205 yards. Grove had eight catches for 148 yards.

McKenzie, who is fully healthy after overcoming an ACL injury earlier in his career, was ready to shoulder his share of the offensive load on Friday.

“Last game, I had a lot of carries [too],” he said. “I knew it was going to be a hard game so I had to stick my nose in there.”

“He had a pretty serious injury that he came back from,” Hersey coach Tom Nelson said. “He’s battled his butt off. He’s been super disciplined to get back to where he is and I’m super happy that people are starting to notice him.”

McKenzie knows opponents have to respect the Huskies’ passing game.

“Carson Grove, they gotta double him every time so that just makes my job a lot easier,” he said. “The line too — we’ve got one of the best lines in the state.”

Grove appreciates the extra dimension McKenzie adds to the offense.

“It’s great,” Grove said. “Him being able to take the pressure off me in the pass game really helps.”

“It gives me a break. And I know I can always trust him and the o-line to get it done in the run game. He’s been balling all season long. It’s expected at this point.”

Grove, who had an interception on defense, is one of several Huskies who play both ways. Prospect (4-2, 1-1) tried to wear down the Huskies with a hurry-up offense but Hersey put up another dominant defensive effort.

Hersey’s Reese Settersten (3) breaks up a Prospect pass play.

Hersey’s Reese Settersten (3) breaks up a Prospect pass play.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The Huskies, who shut out their previous three opponents, haven’t allowed a touchdown since beating Fremd 49-14 in Week 2.

“Coach ‘Tooch’ [defensive coordinator Mike Donatucci] does a great job game-planning — the whole defensive staff,” Grove said.

The Huskies matched the program record with four shutouts last season. “We tied it last year; we’re going for it this year,” Grove said.

Prospect quarterback Jack Skoog was 22-of-35 for 205 yards with an interception and Noah Easter had 79 yards on 23 carries. But the Knights were limited to Carter Cremascoli’s 23-yard field goal in the second quarter.

“Coach Donatucci obviously does a heck of a job and credit to our kids for executing,” Nelson said. “That’s a stout defense.”

The Latest
A man, 29, was in the 3500 block of West 73rd Street about 8:09 p.m. when two men approached him and shot at him with handguns, police said.
A 16-year-old boy got into a ‘verbal altercation’ with someone in the 6500 block of South Racine Avenue about 6:38 p.m. Saturday, police say. The other person then shot him in the chest and legs with a handgun.
Nearly a dozen protesters were taken into custody about 2:41 p.m. Saturday after they allegedly held a demonstration on Franklin Street, police say. Earlier, vandals dropped red dye into Buckingham Fountain and painted pro-Palestinian messages there.
The Eenigenburgs, descended from Gerit Eenigenburg and Jennetje Ton, who landed in the U.S. in 1849. They were among the first people to settle Roseland. One branch of the family was active in the Underground Railroad.