Hail Varsity was on the scene in Carroll, Iowa, to check out the season opening game between Kuemper Cathloic and Saint Albert. Blaise Gunnerson, Nebraska’s 4-star outside linebacker commit, returned to action after missing his junior season due to injury. Kuemper Catholic was facing a good early season test. They also needed to replace many starters lost to graduation.
It was a hard-fought game but Kuemper Cathloic pulled off the win, 27-3. The Knights wore Saint Albert down in the second half.
Here are my five thoughts on the action.
Gunnerson Very Athletic for Size
There has been a little debate over which position Gunnerson will end up playing for the Huskers. After seeing him work out at Friday Night Lights camp and play in person he projects well to outside linebacker. Gunnerson is quite athletic for his size. He also uses his hands well and gets good bend in pass rush situations.
Hard to Turn it Loose
Gunnerson commanded a lot of attention from the Saint Albert offensive line all evening. It’s tough to put your pass rush moves on full display when you are double teamed all night. Once the future Blackshirt got settled into the game he was able to be more disruptive. Saint Albert also smartly ran away from Gunnerson quite a bit. He ended the game with a few tackles and a sack.
Good to Get Back on the Field
Talking with people at the game on Friday night, there was a lot of buzz about the return of Gunnerson. He’s a special talent and the crowd was rooting for him in his return. After the game when I talked to Gunnerson andhe told me about how fired up he was to get back on the field with his teammates. (More below.)
Defense Settled In
Saint Albert struck first early in the game by kicking a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. The Kuemper Catholic defense settled in after and didn’t allow another point. The Knights showed good poise and made some adjustments to get things back on track. The coaches on the Kuemper sidelines told me before the game that it would be a physical football game. The action definitely lived up to that.
Kyle Berg Shines on Offense
Early in the game, Kuemper Catholic had a tough time moving the football on the ground. It was surprising considering the team had a significant size advantage in the game. Yet as the game wore on those small gains turned into bigger gains. Senior running back Kyle Berg ran well, especially in the second half of the game. Kicking off your senior season with a multi-touchdown game is a nice way to get things started.
After the season opening victory I caught up with Gunnerson, the future Husker. We talked about how it felt to get back out on the field, his excitement to get back to Lincoln and his rivalry with Turner Corcoran with peer recruiting.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.