New Hampshire Football Report

Herrling won’t play for East

Pelham High School’s Dom Herrling was looking forward to playing in Friday night’s New Hampshire East/West All-Star Game, but that’s not going to happen.

Herrling, who played running back and defensive back for Pelham, tweaked a lower back injury during the first East practice and won’t participate.

“I was so mad when I got home (from practice),” Herrling said. “I wanted to play so bad. I’ve been waiting for it since the regular season for football ended. I had one more game and that’s it, but I just couldn’t keep pushing it.

“It really started during the end of basketball season,” Herrling continued. “I started feeling it when I was running, but it wasn’t really severe. I started rehabbing it and I was about 90 percent going into (practice) last week, but I tweaked it during DB drills and I just didn’t want to risk anything so I opted out of the game because I really need to get it 100 percent by August 1.”

August 1 is a date Herrling has circled on his calendar. It’s when he will report to the University of New Hampshire for the first day of team workouts. 

Herrling, who’s 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, didn’t pursue a spot on a college roster until his senior season. That’s when he began to contact college coaches, including UNH recruiting coordinator Ed Borden. Herrling is among a handful of players who will join the UNH program as a preferred walk-on.

“After my junior year I wasn’t really big into reaching out to colleges, but toward the beginning of my senior year I was really adamant about wanting to play (in college),” Herrling said. I didn’t really want to play Division III. It was just reach out to some big schools and see what happens. “I talked to a couple coaches and Coach Borden was one of them. He said they liked my film and that I would have to come on visits, but after that I didn’t hear from them. 

“When I applied to the school (UNH) and got in I reached out again to see if there was any possible chance I could still be on the team. I called Coach Borden and he offered me a spot on the team. They took five preferred walk-ons this year. I’m glad I was one of them.”

There aren’t many high school athletes who can match resumes with Herrling, who never lost a high school football game. He helped the Pythons win four straight championships – two in Division III and two in Division II – and string together a 41-game winning streak. Pelham will enter the 2024 season with the third longest winning streak in the country.

Herrling was also a 1,000-point scorer in basketball, and led Pelham to Division II titles in his junior and senior seasons. He said he’ll play wide receiver at UNH.

“First off he’s a winner, being from Pelham and all the winning they’ve done,” East coach Eric Cumba said. “He’s just an athletic kid and very smooth in what he does. He was playing receiver for us. Whenever the ball’s in his hands he’s capable of making a play.”

West coach Keith Jones said he’s seen enough of Herrling already, since he faced Pelham each of the last two seasons when he was Milford’s head coach.  

“I thought over the last two years he was one of the best players in the state,” Jones said. “It was unfortunate for him that his team was very good and his coach (Tom Babaian), a lot like me, believes in spreading the ball around, so he didn’t have any crazy stats, but I bet his yards per carry was over 10.

“I’m not going to lie to you, they beat us up so bad on defense that I don’t really know how good he was in the secondary. But I know how good he was on offense because I watched him running away from me often. I got a good look at the back of his jersey.”

Herrling ran for 773 yards and 15 touchdowns on 57 carries during the regular season, when he also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. He scored two TDs and intercepted two passes in Pelham’s 35-6 victory over Plymouth in the Division II championship game.

Londonderry’s Ty Miles will be Herrling’s roommate at UNH. The two became friends when they played youth sports against each other. Miles will be a two-way lineman for the East when it faces the West on Friday at Saint Anselm College (6 p.m. kickoff).

“I reached out and asked if he had a roommate,”Herrling said. “He said, ‘Nope.’ So that’s how that became a thing. 

“I don’t know about his room situation – if it’s messy or clean. From the looks of it he’s probably messy because he’s a big guy. I’ll probably have to tell him to get his stuff off the ground because I’m a pretty clean guy. He’s gotta have all the snacks, so I won’t have to worry about that. Big lineman. He’s gotta eat.”

The New Hampshire East/West All-Star Game benefits Dartmouth Health Children’s and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (CHaD). The game features former NHIAA football players who graduated this year.

Herrling is one of four Pelham players on the East roster, joining OL/LB Aidan Lynch, OL/DL Memphis Patterson and RB/WR/DB Connor Travis. Herrling said he plans to attend East practice this week and will be on the East sideline for Friday’s game.

“Definitely don’t want to ghost them and just say good-bye,” Herrling said. “I still want to be a part of it. My boys are still there from Pelham, too. Gotta support them.

“If we were in the playoffs and this happened I’d be playing, but I’ve got a lot in my future to look forward to so I’m not really trying to risk hurting it even further and be out for the fall season in college.”


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