North Farmington begins new football era with win over Waterford Kettering

By: Zachary Manning | Online Only | Published August 29, 2019

 North Farmington's Myles Gresham scores a touchdown against Waterford Kettering Aug. 29. The Raiders won 35-30.

North Farmington's Myles Gresham scores a touchdown against Waterford Kettering Aug. 29. The Raiders won 35-30.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

FARMINGTON HILLS –– After spending countless years helping Hall of Fame coach John Herrington at Farmington Hills Harrison, Jon Herstein finally had his chance.

The first-year head coach headed into 2019 looking to turn around a North Farmington program that has won 14 games over the last five years and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013.

After guiding the Raiders to a 35-30 win over Waterford Kettering in the opening week of the season, he is only 442 wins away from passing the coach who mentored him over the years.

“I told coach, I said, ’21 years of going undefeated and winning 21 state championships, I’ll tie him and then I can retire,” Herstein said with a laugh.

While he was all smiles after the win, Hertsein found himself having to make key decisions late in his first game. Late in the third quarter, the Raiders led 35-17 and looked as if they were going to coast to victory.

Kettering had other ideas, getting the score to 35-30 with just over five minutes remaining. The Raiders’ offense took the field again trying to close out the game.

The offense failed to find any momentum on the first three plays of the drive, and the Raiders found themselves sitting with a fourth-and-1 at their own 29-yard line.

Without hesitation, Herstein sent his offense out on the field to get the first down. The confidence in his offense led to a first down, which led to another, and eventually the Raiders would secure their first regular season opening win since 2015.

“We were a little nervous about giving the ball back to them,” Herstein said. “We just took a roll of the dice a little bit and said, you know what, we’re going to run it over top of a senior at left guard, who we moved over there, and we’re going to run it with our fullback, who’s a senior, and just go get the first down.”

The win wouldn’t be possible without the play of Myles Gresham, who collected three touchdowns for the Raiders. He had touchdown runs of 10 and 9 yards to go along with an 89-yard touchdown reception.

Gresham called the win a team win and noted that he enjoys the mix of Harrison and North Farmington traditions.

“It’s amazing,” Gresham said. “Our coaches really care about us and want a new change and try to bring their program over here. Also, mixing our tradition with their tradition, I love it.”

The Raiders will take the field again at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at home against Berkley High.