Hersey dominates in 7A opener

By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/28/2022 10:31 PM

No. 2-seeded host Hersey definitely had its game face on when the Huskies hosted No. 31 Argo in the opening round of the IHSA Class 7A football playoffs Friday night.

The Argonauts tried to catch Hersey off guard with an onside kick on the opening kickoff. But the Huskies were more than prepared for the trickery as junior Carson Grove fielded the kick and raced 55 yards for the touchdown and a 6-0 lead just eight seconds into the contest.


From there, Hersey (10-0) completely dominated Argo (5-5) as the Huskies built a 49-0 halftime lead before rolling to an easy 49-14 victory with a running clock for the entire second half.

Next weekend, Hersey is at No. 18 Batavia (7-3) as the Bulldogs rolled past No. 15 Rockford Guilford 42-0.

Hersey standout running back Brett Kersemeier was in uniform, but he did not play in the lopsided contest in preparation for the next round.

Sophomore running back Chuck Meister (75 yards on 6 carries) was strong as Meister swept right for a 20-yard TD run before the second of 7 extra points by Carson Koclanis made the score 14-0.

Then Grove scored on a 30-yard TD pass from quarterback Colton Gumino (6-for-6, 163 yards passing) to boost the lead to 21-0 after one quarter.

The onslaught continued in the second quarter as tight end Logan Farrell caught a 41-yard TD pass from quarterback Carter Hansen (3-for-5, 49 yards passing), and a 4-yard TD pass from Gumino for a 35-0 lead.

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"We're just trying to control what we can control and execute our brand of ball," said Hersey coach Tom Nelson. "I think Carson (Grove) is one of the best players in the state. He's absolutely electric, and I think coming in he was averaging like 23.4 yards a touch and he continues to do it on both sides of the ball and special teams."

Hersey's Nasir McKenzie scored on an 11-yard TD run before Ryan Stearns was wide open when he caught a 50-yard TD pass from Gumino for a 49-0 lead just 46.8 seconds before halftime.

The Huskies used all reserves in the second half as Argo's Davonte Evans scored 2 touchdowns in the third quarter.

"We've got a tough matchup coming up, but I think we're looking good and we can do it," said Grove, who said coach Nelson told him the onside kick was coming. "We were moving the ball great all night, and we're confident how we've been playing all season."

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