Guyer's 347 yards, 3TDs send Greenway past Hermantown 41-14
Gino Guyer took off in the second quarter Friday night, hitting the line and spinning to get free from one cluster of tacklers, then twisting free from another group of Hermantown defenders before bursting free and sprinting 60 yards for a Greenw...
Gino Guyer took off in the second quarter Friday night, hitting the line and spinning to get free from one cluster of tacklers, then twisting free from another group of Hermantown defenders before bursting free and sprinting 60 yards for a Greenway of Coleraine touchdown.
At that moment, the stocky little guy holding the down markers at Corey Veech Field in Hermantown, obviously a Hermantown booster, trudged up the sideline opposite the grandstand where the visitors bench is located, and said, bitterly: "Take Guyer away, and they don't have much of a team."
Yes, and taking Brett Favre away might leave the Green Bay Packers looking a little different, too, and we already know what the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards are without Michael Jordan. When it comes to high school football, however, the Greenway Raiders are a solid and talented team without Gino Guyer, but with him, they are ranked No. 3 in the state among Class AAA teams. And that was before the Raiders demolished Hermantown 41-14, running their undefeated season to 4-0 and allowing them to leapfrog the Hawks into the Sea-Range Conference lead at 3-0. Hermantown dropped to 3-1 in the conference and 3-2 overall.
Despite the final margin and the down-marker's lack of class, the result was not an indictment of Hermantown's considerable strength and potential so much as an affirmation of the Raiders' skill, even if both of those elements were left obscured in Gino Guyer's jet stream. Guyer, the amazing tailback in Greenway's Triple-I offensive formation, ran for three touchdowns, fairly routine for him. He also gained 347 yards rushing on 21 carries, with a display of unstoppable moves blended seamlessly with explosive power in a performance that was far beyond routine, even for him.
"I think the most I ever had before was 200 yards," shrugged the always-modest Guyer, who is headed for the University of Minnesota on a hockey scholarship, where Don Lucia has barricaded the Mariucci Arena dressing room against the media, but would be better off preventing any invasions by football coach Glen Mason.
"Hermantown is a very good team," said Guyer. "We knew we had to bring our 'A' game, even though we started off a little sluggish."
If the Raiders were a little sluggish, credit the Hawks; if Guyer had never had more than a few 200-yard days before Friday night, his 'A' game was stunningly evident by halftime. At that point, Greenway led only 20-14, but Guyer had 262 yards in 10 carries for a 26.2-yard average. Consider also that his 10 runs included gains of 4, 5, 3 and 5 yards, which account for 17 yards on four of the carries and leave 245 yards on the other six tries -- an average of 41 yards per rush.
Naturally, Hermantown coach Daryl Illikainen knew his Hawks would have their hands full because of haunting memories of the shifty but powerful Guyer from last year. "The biggest problem is you can't simulate that in practice," Illikainen said. "We work all week, and if we could practice against what he can do all week, we might be OK. But nobody has anybody who can do what he can do."
Greenway took the opening kickoff but fumbled the ball to the Hawks, getting it back again at their 14. On first down, the whole Earth seemed to rotate to the right, but it was only Greenway's blocking brigade. Quarterback and cousin Jamie Guyer pitched to Gino Guyer, who appreciated the massive blocking scheme until he turned the corner, then sprinted away into the darkness, 86 yards for a touchdown. Arturo Vidaurreta's first of five extra point kicks made it 7-0.
Hermantown, which had lost only to a spirited second-half Denfeld comeback in the season-opener, stalked back, with Mike Anderson's short touchdown run cutting it to 7-6. In the second quarter, Jamie Guyer passed for a 5-yard touchdown to Andy Sertich -- the only pass Greenway needed to complete all night -- for a 14-6 lead. But again the Hawks responded, with Anderson bursting up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown run on a quick-hitting play executed perfectly by quarterback B.J. Radovich from the Hawks veer. A 2-point conversion pass from Radovich to Thad Epperly tied it 14-14 in the second quarter, which aroused the Hermantown fans and gave the Raiders the misconception they were misfiring.
But the Raider defense adjusted to handle the veer, and Hermantown could find no adjustment to handle Gino Guyer. When he broke off that 60-yard run, it took him about 10 seconds to spin and whirl for the first 10 yards, and less than that to go the rest of the way, shattering the tie for a 20-14 halftime lead and prompting the down-marking official to start muttering to everyone within earshot, even taking to baiting Greenway's sideline statistician in his misery.
In the second half, fullback Adam Wright, who amassed 85 more yards to prove the Raiders have more than one weapon, scored two touchdowns, on runs of 2 and 3 yards, sandwiched around Gino Guyer's third touchdown run from 11 yards out. Almost unnoticed in Greenway's performance was that Jamie Guyer reinjured his bruised leg in the second quarter, so coach Bob Schwartz shifted wide receiver Andy Sertich to quarterback, and the Raider machine never missed a beat.
"Jamie had a bruised fibula from before, and he got hit in the same place," said Schwartz. "So we put Andy in there. No problem, he's a great athlete. Gino? He's smooth, and he works so hard. He got some great blocking tonight, too. We got a push up front, and then a second wave of blocking from our two lead backs."
Schwartz said that he's not yet ready to declare this team the best he's had in eight years at Greenway. "They've got to get to the section final before I'll even think about that," he said. But he also had strong praise for Hermantown, and particularly Radovich, the stocky 5-foot-7 sparkplug quarterback, who played both ways all game and may have worn down by taking some sort of hit on every offensive play.
"Hermantown is the best team we've played this year, by far," Schwartz said. "Our game plan was to hit Radovich on every play, whether he had the ball or not. You've got to account for him on every play, because he's so dangerous running that veer."
Last year, Greenway also whipped Hermantown, 35-7, but the Hawks came back to give the Raiders a major scare at playoff time. "We'll probably meet again in the playoffs, and we can be a great playoff team," said Illikainen. "We had some success against them last year in the playoffs. We were leading them 17-13, but they ran back a kickoff for a late touchdown to beat us 19-17."
And just which Greenway player ran back that kickoff? "Did you have to ask?" said Illikainen.