Haarberg family ‘enjoying the present’ as Heinrich leads Huskers to wins

Local4 News at 10
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 10:39 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Since Matt Rhule’s arrival in Lincoln, it’s been a whirlwind for Heinrich Haarberg.

The Kearney Catholic alum has gone from not traveling with the team to road games last season too going 2-0 in his first two games as a starter for the program. It’s created some quarterback controversy within the fanbase, especially ahead of a much tougher opponent coming into memorial stadium this week -- in second-ranked Michigan.

But if you go back to his time in high school with the Stars, this is nothing new. Go back even further and his parents, Rod and Liz, will say that he’s worked tirelessly for years to set himself up for success in every facet of life.

It’s why they’re not surprised by their son’s success and instead grateful that he’s reaping the rewards of the work it took to get here -- right from central Nebraska.

“The fruit is what we’re seeing the behind the scenes: work; sweat; tears; perseverance,” Liz Haarberg said. “Those are the elements that we know intimately, as a family. From our family’s standpoint, it’s not a surprise at all.”

“As we came into the year, I think he knew that he would contribute in some way, he knew where they valued him, he knew that they did value him,” Rod Haarberg added. “We really weren’t nervous about it. We were excited, a little bit anxious, but not nervous because he was ready.”

And Heinrich’s proven it. His first Husker touchdown came against Colorado, a special connection to Thomas Fidone II, is former roommate. Haarberg has brought back old school Husker football on the read option and as a power quarterback, but one who can also outpace a DB!

And you can just tell how much it means to his family.

“So, so good,” Rod Haarberg said. “I can remember the call in the last two months. He calls and is like, ‘This is what it’s supposed to be.’ It had nothing to do with playing time, it had nothing to do with a depth chart, it had nothing to do with any of that, but he’s loving what he’s doing.”

“His face on the jumbotron, it made it real,” Liz Haarberg added. “That’s where I think we are right now, just enjoying the present.”

While his parents are relishing their son’s current success, both stress that kids from central Nebraska and other areas like it can achieve similar goals.

“Being in central Nebraska presents its own set of challenges in dreaming large and dreaming big,” Liz Haarberg said. “Not because it’s not possible, but because it hasn’t been seen. There’s a dream that’s being birthed, I believe, in this area for young kids. Being able to have that platform that Heinrich has, and in turn we have, is encouraging people to be able to think big.”

“Want every kid to know that the opportunity is there and you have the resources to it,” Rod Haarberg added. “The ceiling is much higher than you think it is. Even in Kearney, they’ll find you.”