August 18, 2010 —
By Bill Mullaly
During the summer the Post-Gazette promised as much Hudson Tiger football coverage as possible and we will try our best to give the fans just that during the soon to be here gridiron season. Here are a few things fans might want to know.
• The high school football season is upon us with the season opening scrimmages taking place all over the tri-county area both today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday). The Hudson Tigers will get started on the 2010 season with their annual four-way scrimmage set for 7:00 on Friday night at Stockbridge. As always the Tigers will win this scrimmage (you can’t lose a scrimmage can you?) Hudson will take on Quincy, Galesburg-Augusta and host school the Panthers. Ironically, due to a quirk in the schedule the Tigers will also play Stockbridge but that won’t come until week eight at home on October 15th. The junior varsity scrimmage will take place at 5:00 also in Stockbridge.
• Talking about the junior varsity team and the first thing most fans will notice as will the players is the absence of long time task master and veteran coach Scott “Scooter” Marry. He has hung up the football whistle for now taking a year off to pursue other interests mostly family and building a wrestling empire that might threaten the length of the great Roman Empire. Marry built many successful junior varsity teams with winning records and he also got the young boys ready for the varsity. He will be missed but he will be replaced by another veteran coach as Jeremy Beal is back on the ballfield coaching after taking last year off. Beal will be the head junior varsity coach and he will be assisted by Dave Messer.
• The JV’s are short on number as opening night last Monday, August 9th saw around 15-16 potential junior varsity players. This begs the question, “Where are the players?” There were 40 total players on the practice field on opening night with 37 dressed in helmets and three more waiting to get paper work done. The lack of numbers is a big concern to head varsity coach Chris Luma. “I just don’t know why we don’t have more kids out here,” said Luma, who like any varsity coach is always looking to the future. “We need more kids playing football here at Hudson. I know of other communities our size or smaller that have over 60 kids total out for high school football. It is frustrating and I just don’t understand the lack of numbers.”
Luma is frustrated and well he should be. He runs a first class program and doesn’t run kids off or scare kids away. He coaches the players he has that show up but enough are not showing up.
It is never to late to play and kids that don’t play might one day wish they had. It is a great honor to put on that orange and black helmet and to be a Tiger! “The varsity team has around 24 players and they could be adding more one Tiger as the only key player not with the team opening night was senior Chris Dickerson. He is trying to get some matters worked out and if all goes well he could join the team and add some much needed depth and toughness. Dickerson played last year in a backup role on both sides of the ball and he was expected to step it up this year. He is a threat running and blocking in the backfield. Hopefully, he will be able to join the team.
• A player who will not be on the field again this year at least not right away is senior Brandon “Bubba” Snead. Last year he was injured and this summer a freak injury swimming has him out with a broken ankle. “I could get clearance to resume playing in late September,” said Snead, who has run into some tough luck trying to get on the field for the football team. He would be a lineman for the Tigers. What is good to see though, is the positive attitude of Snead. He comes to practices and stays a part of the team even though he can not play. As with any injured player whether a sub or a superstar when you get injured and can’t play you become a glorified manager and cheerleader. Let’s hope Snead gives up those dual rolls soon to get the helmet on and get on the field.
• Talking about the varsity team Luma will be assisted by two veteran coaches as his brother, Mark, returns again to tutor the offensive and defensive linemen. Mark has been with the program since the early 1990′s coaching middle school and the JV’s until going to the varsity with Chris when he took over as head coach in 1997. Another returning coach is defensive coordinator Danny Rogers. He has been with the varsity team since 2000 and took over running the defense in 2001. He also started at the middle school and moved to the JV’s and now is a fixture at the varsity level. Don’t let anyone fool you, as a key to the success at the varsity level is the knowledge, experience and dedication of the coaches. It really helps to have continuity in the program and Hudson has it.
• Gone from the 2009 varsity coaching staff is former Tiger star player and Adrian College standout as Harry Bailey is back at AC coaching the junior varsity team as its head JV coach. He also will help out with the varsity team at AC. Bailey will be missed as he brought a lot of new ideas, techniques and enthusiasm to the program last year fresh out of a college football program. “Replacing Bailey will be a long-time football coach with a name familiar to many Hudson football fans. Jim Driskill will be helping at the varsity level. “I will help with the scout team and any place else I can,” said Driskill, who has been coaching school football off and on since 1968. “He called and asked to help out and it was a pleasant surprise,” said Luma.
• Another long-time “coach” is back as Billy Seymoure, a former standout football player for the Tigers decades ago returns. Seymoure helps out as manager, ball boy, helping with stats, fixing equipment, coaching and whatever is needed. “There is no job too big or too small as I do what I can to help and it is great being around the boys and getting to know them,” said Seymoure, who then added. “When football starts in August it is my favorite time of the year. I love this being out here helping out and I think the team might be pretty good this year.” “Talking about the boys or players the saying the MHSAA likes to have is, “It’s all about team!” Well, Hudson is going to have a very good varsity football team but look for one player to make things happen and in the process garner a lot of attention. Matthew Smith, 18, at 6-4 and 215 pounds is the type of player that college coaches really are interested in. Smith will be getting plenty of attention from not only opposing coaches but also those at the next level. He won’t talk about next year as his only focus is on this season and what he can do to help his team win this fall. He did attend 11 different football camps this summer to improve his game and to get his talents out there in front of college coaches. In fact, on opening night there was a college assistant coach at practice checking out Smith and another player or two. One of the biggest reasons Smith is a wanted quantity at the next level is his athletic ability. Not only is he a great football player but the young man was also a state champion wrestler, which means he has strength, toughness, quickness and the things college coaches look for. “I don’t really want to talk about next year as I all care about is this season and helping this team get as far into the playoffs as we can while also winning another league title,” said Smith talking like a true team player.
• There was a rumor floating around this past spring that former Tiger coach Tom Saylor was not returning to Morenci but he is back leading the Bulldogs for his second year. Saylor will have his troops ready for Hudson’s arrival on Thursday, September 2nd as Hudson heads to Henry Geisler Field for a 7:00 kickoff. This will be the second battle between the two long-time rivals with Saylor on the opposite sideline. This game won’t have the buildup that last year’s game had when Saylor returned to Thompson Field for real whooping. Hudson won the 2009 encounter 40-0. Look for a lot closer game this time. Morenci ended at 3-6 last year but could have won every game but the one with Hudson.
• A former Tiger player and Hudson resident is back for his second year at Jonesville as Josh Lindeman returns after a 5-4 season in 2009. He has another former Tiger coach helping him out as Clay Pelham is back again. A change this year will see Pelham running the offense and Lindeman coaching the defense. They hope to make the playoffs and contend for the Big 8 conference title. Interestingly enough the Bulldogs open the season against Jonesville at Morenci in a clash of two teams with Hudson backgrounds.
See you at the games and Go Tigers!