Dominic Guerrini heard a lot about his dad’s 1995 state champion Hall Red Devils football team growing up.
He wore his dad’s No. 45 jersey number coming up into the ranks of youth football and playing his first two years at Hall.
He probably has heard about the 1995 Red Devils a little too much.
This spring, Dominic decided he was ready to make his own identity. He now wears No. 3.
“I’ve grown up my whole life hearing all the stories from that 1995 team and everything. I don’t want to say it got old, but it was repetitive. I was a little bit over it and I kind of wanted to start my own thing,” he said.
Nick Guerrini, who was one of the many stars of that 1995 state championship and is in his first year as Hall head coach, couldn’t be prouder.
“They (Dominic and freshman Gianni) hear about it enough,” Nick said. “Dominic has been No. 45 all his life. He said this year. ‘I want to be 3, I want to start my own.’ I’m proud as hell of him right now.”
Dominic admits the stories of his dad’s team are what legends are made of. His dad scored three touchdowns in the 1995 state championship, two in the final 1 1/2 minutes as the Red Devils rallied to a 38-32 win over DuQuoin.
“It’s a great thing, but I’d like to do it, too,” he said.
He chose No. 3 this year to carry on the tradition of 2020 Hall grad Cole Wozniak, whom he played alongside the last time the Red Devils took the field in 2019.
“I looked up to him big time. He was a great leader last year and I kind of wanted to take over and play the game like he did, too,” Guerrini said.
Dominic said it has its ups and downs having their dad as coach.
“Sometimes it gets different between dad and coach. We work it out,” Dominic said. “It depends how the day went. If it was a good day, it’s dad. If things were rough, when we get home, it’s still coach.”
Dominic said his dad treats his brother and him just like any player in practice.
“You don’t want it being dad at practice,” he said.
Nick said it’s “awesome” to coach his kids, “but it’s scary as heck at the same time.”
“As coach No. 1, it’s safety for all these kids. Everyone of these boys are my own,” he added. “It’s kind of magnified when you have two of your own out there at the same time. I’ve always been able to kind of separate the two and looking out for them just the same.”
The Hall coach is finding that old fullbacks never die. He admits he gets excited every time the fullback gets his hands on the ball.
“Those wedges up the middle. That’s where I’m at,” he said with a smile.
And being on the Hall sidelines with his sons in uniform, is really where he’s at.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@ bcrnews.com.