Mustangs recover, claim title
Rolling Meadows, which hadn’t trailed this season before Friday night, rallied to knock off Hersey 38-35 in a battle of unbeaten teams in Rolling Meadows.
The victory clinched the Mid-Suburban East title for Rolling Meadows. It was the Mustangs’ sixth conference title in the last seven years, with Hersey capturing the conference crown last year.
“It was unbelievable,” Mustangs coach Matt Mishler said. “The game was everything I thought it was. For our kids to come back, it was huge for us.”
Rolling Meadows (8-0, 4-0) methodically moved the ball down the field in the first half, racking up 18 first downs and scoring on each of its four possessions to lead 24-13.
Jace O’Hara scored first for the Mustangs, blasting off on a 43yard run on a dive play through the middle of the Hersey defense. Hersey (7-1. 3-1) responded with the first of two one-yard touchdown runs by Jordan Hansen.
Rolling Meadows quarterback Arek Kleniuk capped an eightplay, 73-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. The Mustangs also scored on a jet sweep option pass from Charlie Svoboda to Justin Kretz.
Hersey began to turn the tables when Nick Steger returned a fumble 73 yards, setting up Hansen’s third touchdown to make it 24-21. After a defensive stop and a key third-down screen pass to Hansen, the Huskies took the lead at 28-24 early in the fourth quarter on a twoyard touchdown pass from Ryan Justice to Kacper Rutkiewicz.
Svoboda came up with five receptions on Rolling Meadows’ next possession, including a 27-yard touchdown catch as the Mustangs regained the lead. Tim Szylak added a 21-yard scoring run for the Mustangs, making it 38-28 with just over two minutes remaining.
Hansen then scored his fourth touchdown with less than a minute to play. Rolling Meadows’ TJ Williams recovered the onside kick to preserve the win.
Hersey’s Vince Carso (left) breaks up a pass intended for Rolling Meadows’ Jordan Wiles at the start of the second quarter Friday night in Rolling Meadows.