GRAND RAPIDS — Entering Friday night’s high school football game between Grand Rapids and Hermantown, it was expected that it would be a close game between two of the top teams in northeastern Minnesota.
Instead, Grand Rapids took control from the beginning and never allowed Hermantown to rebound as the Thunderhawks rolled to a 41-0 victory over the Hawks in action Friday night at Noble Hall Field in Grand Rapids.
It took four plays for Grand Rapids to get on the scoreboard and the Thunderhawks were able to add two more touchdowns before the end of the half. Meanwhile, Grand Rapids’ defense bent but did not break as it was able to control the Hermantown offense.
The first drive of the game ended with a bang as Grand Rapids senior quarterback Trent Johnson connected with junior receiver on a 40-yard touchdown pass. Nic Langlois booted the extra point and Grand Rapids had an early lead.
After the Thunderhawks forced Hermantown to punt on its first possession, Grand Rapids wasted little time in taking a two-touchdown lead. Aided by a 37-yard run down to the one yard line by Caden Hofstad, the drive was finished off when Johnson plunged into the end zone. Langlois’ kick was good and Grand Rapids led 14-0 with 6:37 left in the first quarter.
Hermantown then showed some life and drove deep into Grand Rapids territory. However, the Hawk drive stalled when it failed to convert on a fourth and goal situation from the Thunderhawk seven.
Grand Rapids then took more than seven minutes off the clock as it drove 93 yards for another touchdown. The drive was finished off when Johnson plunged into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.
Hermantown drove deep into Grand Rapids territory late in the first half but a Michael Lau pass on fourth down was intercepted by the Thunderhawks’ Dane Kennedy who returned it 85 yards for the final touchdown of the half. Langlois booted the extra point and Grand Rapids took a 27-0 lead into the locker room at the half.
If Hermantown had any ideas of making a second-half comeback, those hopes were squashed on its first drive of the second half when Thunderhawk John Bonner intercepted a Lau pass and returned it 29 yards to the Hawk three yard line. Bonner then was able to reach the end zone on a five-yard run and the kick was good as the Thunderhawks led 34-0 early in the second half.
Johnson had another big day for the Thunderhawks as he passed for 83 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 25 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hofstad also had a huge game for Grand Rapids as he rushed for 128 yards on just nine carries.
It also was an impressive showing for the Thunderhawk defense in posting the shutout. It allowed 70 yards on the ground and just 65 yards through the air, allowing just 135 yards of total offense to Hermantown.
Hermantown 0 0 0 0 — 0
Grand Rapids 14 13 14 0 — 41
GR-Michael Ritter 40-yard pass from Trent Johnson (Nic Langlois kick)
GR-Johnson 1-yard run (Langlois kick)
GR-Johnson 1-yard run (Kick failed)
GR-Dane Kennedy 85-yard interception return (Langlois kick)
GR-John Bonner 5-yard run (Langlois kick)
GR-Ben Bonner 1-yard pass from Johnson (Langlois kick)