September 8, 2010 —
By Bill Mullaly
The Hudson Tigers for the 13th consecutive season beat the Morenci Bulldogs on the gridiron. This time it was one they would like to quickly forget over in Bulldog land as Hudson pummeled the Dawgs big time with a 58-0 pasting of an overmatched former LCAA foe. The Tigers have not lost to Morenci since the season opener way back in 1997 in what was then Tiger head coach Chris Luma’s first game as the Tigers leader. He has not lost to the Bullpups since. The win by the Tigers moves them to 2-0 on the young season, while the Dawgs and coach Tom Saylor fall to 0-2 with Tri-County Conference action up next. The Tigers better not enjoy this win over Morenci for to long as they face LCAA power Onsted on Friday on the road in an early season game-of-the-year match-up. We can talk about that game later as we replay the easy win over Morenci.
The Tiger offense was not needed in this game as the defense forced five turnovers and showed that Danny’s D is for real. Hudson took the kickoff and went three plays and out and had to punt. Morenci soon had to punt it back and then the Tiger offense got in motion. It took just four plays for Hudson to go 70 yards with senior fullback Grant Benschoter going the final 54 yards for the touchdown. The kick failed and it was 6-0 Tigers with 6:16 left in period one. Morenci had to punt the ball away again and this time the Tigers took over at their own 20-yard line as the punt resulted in a Morenci touchback. Drew Milligan broke a tackle and then he was off to the end zone for a 76-yard scoring run. It took the Tigers just four plays to traverse the 80 yards for a 12-0 late in the first stanza with 1:53 still to play. The run for two failed.
Morenci quarterback Brett Bovee throws a nice ball but on this night he was throwing it to the wrong team as Hudson intercepted four passes. Two of them were returned for touchdowns. The first pick that went for a score came from Tiger linebacker Nathaniel Osborne who intercepted a pass and he went 45 yards breaking one tackle and sprinting into the end zone. Osborne looked like a well-tuned fullback as he sprinted to the end zone for the score. The pass for two failed and it was 18-0 with still 1:15 left to go in quarter number one. The Tigers got the ball back again as linebacker Devan Marry intercepted a pass setting up the next touchdown moments later. Hudson then went 31 yards on just four plays with junior Lucas Sparapani taking it in for the score with 10:57 left until halftime. The run by Benschoter was good for two points and it was 26-0. Then things only got worse for the Bulldogs as Bovee threw a pass that Tiger linebacker Burke Hart intercepted and he took it back 15 yards for another interception return. Hart, like Osborne, broke a couple of tackles to get into the end zone. The kick was no good and it was 32-0 with 9:56 to go until intermission. The Tigers got the ball back this time on a Bullpup fumble that was recovered by Tiger linebacker Joel Varney for the fourth straight Morenci turnover on four straight possessions. It took just four plays to go the 25 yards as quarterback Jimmy Williams used a nice fake up the middle and then scooted 11 yards around left end to paydirt making it 39-0 with still 6:04 until the quarter was to end. Milligan hit the extra point this time. The Tigers then forced a Bulldog punt and were unable to dent the end zone before the halftime horn sounded.
Then the second half began the way the first half started as Morenci took the second half kickoff and threw an interception with Marry picking off another pass for the fourth Tiger interception and the fifth Bulldog turnover. Benschoter went five yards on the first play for the score as after the interception a 15-yard late hit penalty was added on to the interception return setting the Tigers up for another easy score. With 9:35 left in period three it was Hudson on top 45-0 as the kick failed. The 35-point mercy rule went into effect as soon as the second half started and the second half was a short one. The Tigers scored again in period three this time going 42 yards on nine plays for the longest scoring drive of the game based on the number of plays. The score came from junior halfback James Herron who pounded it in from three yards out for a 51-0 Tiger lead with just 20 seconds left in period three. This year a new MHSAA rule went into effect as once a team gets ahead by 50 points or more the clock only stops for timeouts and injuries whereas before it stopped for “TIPS” or timeouts, injuries, penalties and scores. The clock wasn’t going to stop and the Tiger scoring didn’t either as Varney found the end zone on a short four-yard run and it was 58-0 with 4:52 left as Milligan hit the point after. The running clock then quickly ran out as the game mercifully came to an end for both teams.
“It was a nice win but it’s not much fun beating my old coach like that,” said Luma, who for the second straight year shutout the Bullpups. In two games since coach Saylor’s return to the Morenci sideline Hudson has now out-scored them 98-0. Luma was Saylor’s star quarterback way back in the fall of 1976 when the Tigers went 9-0.
Hudson ran the ball 34 times for 300 yards and tried just one pass that went for one yard with Camden McCaskey getting the reception on a pass from Williams. Milligan had just seven carries but gained 125 yards, while Benschoter ran it six times for 68 yards and Varney had seven attempts for 47 yards. Dimitri Nealy was next with three carries for 29 yards, while Marco Quevedo had three carries for 18 yards and McCaskey ran three times for six yards. Morenci ran the ball 25 times and gained just 18 yards as the Tiger defense dominated. Bovee ended up with 15 passing attempts with five completions and four were picked off for 50 yards in passing. Hudson punted one time and Morenci booted it away five times. Hudson didn’t have a turnover to five for the Bulldogs.
Hudson had a miniscule eight first downs to just three for Morenci. The Tigers had one late penalty for 15 yards and the Dawgs were hit with five penalties for 73 yards in lost yardage.
The Hudson defense was dominant as it recorded its second single digit effort after giving Hillsdale just six points last week. Marry had a team-high 12 tackles with two interceptions, while Hart had 10 stops and the pickoff for the touchdown. Varney had eight tackles and the fumble recovery. Osborne had eight stops and a pick for six points. Ricky Beach had eight tackles, while Matthew Smith had six and Benschoter six also. McCaskey added five tackles.
“Danny came up with a good game plan to stop their passing attack and our defense played really well again,” said Luma. “Our defense keyed the win as they made scores and set up scores for our offense. We ran the ball well but didn’t have to go on very many drives because of the short field position we kept getting from our defense.”
Another key to the win was the return yardage of McCaskey who had three punts returns for 95 yards with a long one of 51 yards.
“We were very physical on both sides of the ball and we ran the ball successfully with our one-two punch of Milligan and Benschoter.
Defensive coach Dan Rogers said it best immediately after the game when he told the troops to enjoy this win for the night because come tomorrow (Friday) morning they had better be thinking of nothing but Onsted. The Wildcats are 2-0 just like the Tigers and they want to win the LCAA crown just like Hudson. This game is an early season showdown for first place in the LCAA being at stake plus bragging rights for this area. This has become a classic rivalry the past 20 some years and this should be a dandy. The game will be at Redfeld Stadium in Onsted tomorrow (Friday) night. The teams have had some great games of late with Onsted winning 7-6 two years ago and Hudson holding on with a thrilling win 30-26 last year. In the last ten match-ups since 2000 the teams are both 5-5.
“I see this game being similar to last year but I like our defense better this time. Also, I don’t anticipate a game like two years ago as both teams will probably score more than that,” said Luma, who would be pleased with any type of win over arch-rival Onsted. “They have big-play kids like we do and it should be quite an exciting game. Our defense I hope will be the difference in the outcome as we are playing well on that side of the ball.” Onsted has a talented quarterback in Steven Spears and he will put it up in the air to test Danny’s D again. Look for the Tiger defense to win this battle and the game.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 and get there early as a large crowd is expected to go with nice weather for a late summer showdown in Lenawee County. Prediction: This is one is too close to call and it’s on the road but you just have to like the Tiger defense this season. Hudson 22, Onsted 18. Go Tigers!