Defense paves way in Hersey's 45-15 win over Fremd
After winning at New Trier in its season opener, Hersey's team was welcomed to a large fan turnout in its first game of the season at Roland Goins Stadium on Friday night in Arlington Heights.
The Huskies didn't disappoint its faithful backers.
Wearing brown jerseys for the first time in 20 years, they produced a 45-14 triumph over Fremd.
"The kids did an excellent job." said first-year coach Tom Nelson, a former Hersey star who played five seasons as a safety in the NFL. "Early in the game I liked the way our kids battled through adversity, made plays and executed under little Friday night pressure."
A 29-yard TD run by Hersey's Ryan Stearns and a 24-yard pass from Fremd QB Caiden Suchy to Jack Wienke ended the first quarter with the score tied 7-7.
Hersey (2-0) gained the lead for good on the second play of the second quarter when Carson Grove, behind the line of Lucas Hessling, Zach Ott, Joe Maher, Kyle Trajano and Oleg Simakov, raced around the left end for a 25-yard TD with 11:27 left.
A 45-yard punt return by Grove gave Hersey the ball at the Fremd 28 and four plays later, on fourth and 8, Carson Koclanis booted a 44-yard field off the snap of Andew Pignataro and hold by Logan Riley,
The Hersey defense, with Evan Naumowicz, Gus Dammann, Alex Galindo and Ethan Sather up front, forced a three and out.
The Huskies then put together a 67-yard drive behind QB Colton Gumino, capped by a 32-yard pass to Grove, who caught the ball just past the line of scrimmage and raced to the end zone for the 24-7 lead at intermission.
With linemen Anthony Reed, Casey Bending, Karol Niemic, Richard Essien and Johnny Warner paving the way, the Vikes (0-2) opened the second half with a 68-yard TD drive, capped by Suchy's QB sneak to cut the deficit to 24-14.
However, senior Jack Armstrong's 30-yard interception return for a touchdown extended the Huskies' lead to 31-14 with 5:14 left in the third quarter.
"I thought our defensive backs did a phenomenal job." said Armstrong, whose interception was his first in two seasons on the varsity. "They stuck with the game plan. It felt like Fremd had all the momentum because they had just scored and we were down, but that (pick 6) seemed to turn it back in our favor."
The Huskies (2-0) added two fourth-quarter scores, a 1-yard QB sneak by Carter Hansen and an 8-yard pass from Gumino to sophomore Luke Farrell (7 catches, 88 yards), who scored his first TD as a Huskie
The defense did the rest, getting 2 big sacks in the final quarter from Sather and Armstrong.
"The defense played great," said Sather, a junior defensive end, who now has 3 sacks in two games. "We just hit them hard right at the start. It made me proud to do that (get a sack on the birthday of his grandmother Terri, who was at the game). Shout out to her.'
Suchy threw for 178 yards with Brennan Saxe making 9 catches for 76 yards.
"Hersey played well," said Fremd coach Lou Sponsel. "They blocked, they tackled and they executed fundamentals. We didn't. There were times we felt like we were fighting back into the game then we would beat ourselves. When you don't have good practices you can't expect to come out on top so our kids have a good chance next week to come back to work and see what we are made of."
Hersey running back Brett Kersemeier rushed for 100 yards and also had an interception. Carson Grove made 6 catches for 102 yards.
"I think Carson Grove was electric per usual" Nelson said, "Kersemeier ran really hard and makes plays for us all the time. And Jack's pick 6 was obviously a big play."