FOOTBALL: Herscher falls flat, grounded by Plano
HERSCHER — The magic left Herscher before the show even began.
After an all-in, gutsy performance against Peotone last week, the Tigers couldn’t rekindle that same effort and fell victim to Plano’s stout running game, along with some self-inflicted wounds, in a 40-21 loss on Friday.
“We didn’t play a good game at all and shot ourselves in the foot,” Herscher coach Dan Wetzel said. “We had way too many mistakes, and against a good team like Plano, they’re going to capitalize. They really wore us down defensively in the second half and limited our possessions, and that’s credit to them.”
With the rainy conditions pretty much shutting down any plans of a successful passing attack, Herscher turned to its bread and butter in senior running back Matt Dorsey.
Per usual, Dorsey did not disappoint.
On the second play of the game, Dorsey took a jet sweep, beat the Plano defense to the right sideline and sprinted 57 yards to the end zone to give the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead just 44 seconds into the game.
Although Plano continued to match Herscher touchdown for touchdown before eventually taking the lead for good late in the second quarter, Dorsey continued to leave it on the field.
Trailing 32-14, Dorsey found paydirt again from 3 yards out to cut the lead to 32-21 and give Herscher a little bit of momentum.
Dorsey finished the night with 128 yards on 14 carries alongside the two touchdowns. Carter Hendrix added 110 yards on the ground, including a 50-yard rushing touchdown.
“Matt has been a solid player all season,” Wetzel said. “We said all along in the second half that we needed to get him the ball and let him do his thing. He did a great job tonight. We just didn’t have the ball enough in the second half to do anymore and that kept him off the field.”
Although Plano’s running attack with quarterback Bryson Schmidt, along with running backs Demetri Coker and Torry Jackson, is stout, their efforts were aided by some blunders on Herscher’s part.
With the game tied at 14, Herscher was flagged for two facemask penalties, which cost them 25 yards that set up a 13-yard score from Schmidt.
“We didn’t make plays when we needed to and didn’t do the little things right,” Wetzel said.
After Plano converted a fourth-down attempt on the first possession of the second half, Coker broke five tackles on his way to a 49-yard score.
After Dorsey’s touchdown, the Reapers went with a time-chewing strategy and converted three fourth-down conversions before Schmidt put the dagger in with his third rushing touchdown for the night.
“These types of losses happen when you don’t do what is needed to win,” Wetzel said. “It can’t just be four to five guys who want it; it has to be a team effort. But in the end, we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win.”
Herscher travels to Manteno for its regular season finale Friday in hopes of squeezing into the playoffs.
“There’s a lot of teams playing for nothing, but we’re still playing for a playoff spot to keep our streak going,” Wetzel said. “That’s out silver lining, and hopefully that is motivation enough for the guys, but they have to want it.”