Ready, set, argue: The best all-time (well, since 1950) Hudson football teams?

December 29, 2010 —

By Bill Mullaly

The Hudson Tigers just capped off a perfect 14-0 season that ended at Ford Field with a 2010 Division 7 State Championship. This team will go down in the annals of Hudson football as one of the greatest teams of all time. However, where does it fit against other football giants in Tiger gridiron history. Part of the success of any Hudson football team is the tradition that demands and expects excellence of each team. Of course, Hudson has had teams that didn’t achieve what the fans, players and coaches had hoped for but when they do accomplish great things then it is only natural to want to compare teams. Thus, here is a look at some of the very finest Hudson teams on the gridiron in the last 60 years since 1950 to which records are available.

The top 10 Hudson High School Football Teams listed using inverse order.

#10: The (9-0) team of 1957. This Tiger unit scored 294 points and allowed just 40. Tiger great Bill Knapp was injured and only played the final few games. The squad was led by Chuck Redding and Bob Darr. Dale Townsend also played a key role. The team had just one close game a (12-7) win over Summerfield. In the final state rankings the team was number 3 in the state in class C.

#9: The (13-1) team of 2009. This Tiger team scored 520 points but they allowed 232. They won the legendary thriller in double overtime over Mendon. They did however, have four narrow wins those being by 5 points Blissfield (35-30), 4 points Onsted (30-26), 3 points Stockbridge (28-25) and the comeback against Mendon (42-41). Nathan Smith, Chris Robbins and John Liby were a few of the key players. For 9 games the points were 348-131.

#8: The (11-1) team of 2004. This team scored a then school record-tying amount of points of 506 and gave up 107. They had one close win beating Hillsdale 28-23 at home. Anthony Carr, Scott Rupnow, Zach Knapp, Tom Freeman and RJ Aguirre led the team. The lone loss was to state runner-up dePorres 26-13. For nine games the points were 385-74. They blitzed an unbeaten Sand Creek team 42-0 for the district crown.

#7: The (9-0) team of 1973. Defense was its legacy allowing just 26 points but they scored only 240. Key wins came over #2 ranked Addison (12-3), Manchester (6-0) and #9 ranked Homer (20-0). All three wins came on the road and that doesn’t even include the state-record 45th straight win at Blissfield to open the season (30-0). Pat Luma, Steve Ames, Rick Sherman and Dan Mullaly were key Tigers that year. Hudson ended ranked #1 in the state.

#6: The (12-1) team of 2001. Yes, the two forfeits still count as wins. Hudson had a key road win at 8-0 Hillsdale (40-23) to end the regular season. Then big playoff wins (21-19) over Monroe St. Marys, (31-12) at Clinton and (41-6) over an 11-0 Union City team over there. Tiger Terror Taylor Ramos led the team on offense and all-stater Andrew Daugherty on defense. Clinton lost twice that year both to Hudson (25-14) the first time. The points were 506-161 or pro-rated for nine games to 401-103. The semifinal loss was to Schoolcraft (21-12) and they went 14-0.

#5: The (10-1) team of 1975. Yes, the pressure of a national record-setting winning streak was enormous. The Tigers put 269 points up and allowed 62 in nine games. The only close game was the 18-7 win at Manchester. Big road games against Addison (28-6) and Hilldale (24-6) were never in doubt late. The greatest win in Hudson football history was the 24-14 triumph over Kalamazoo Hackett in the class C semifinal game for the national record. The team lost the next week to Ishpeming 38-22 in the first-ever state final. Mark Luma, Paul Stoyk, John Miler, Greg Gutierrez and Digger Monahan led the team along with the late Dan Salamin.

#4: The (10-1) team of 1982. This team played defense like no other. They allowed just 5 points in nine regular season games with a total of 207 points scored. The offense struggled at times winning (6-2) Morenci and two (8-0) wins over Blissfield and Clinton. Randy Darr, Randy Grubbs and Scooter Marry were some of the key players. The lone loss was in the semifinal to state champion dePorres (22-6). Onsted (33-3) scored a disputed field goal for the other points given up in the regular season. Beat Michigan Center (14-0) in the regional final.

#3: The (9-0) team of 1956. This team is legendary with all-state halfback Knapp and all-state lineman Sheldon Peltier. They put up 382 points and allowed just 24. No team scored more than six points and the closest game was (25-6) over Summerfield. The big wins were over Addison (70-6) and Morenci (62-0) to close the year. The opener was (24-0) over Tecumseh. This team was the class C state champion ranked number one. Knapp, Darr and Redding were juniors on this squad.

#2: The (9-0) team of 1970. This team could score points with 372 and gave up 26. The comparisons to 1956 are so similar. They had no close games but did win three by 16 points. Blissfield (22-6), at Harper Woods Lutheran East (22-6) and over the Dutch (24-8). Big high-scoring wins were Onsted (82-6) and at Grass Lake (72-0). Another key win was at class B Flat Rock (30-0). Hudson ended up ranked second in the state in class C to a (9-0) Galesburg-Augusta team. Sunkist High School All-American John Wollet led the team. Other key players were Jeff Sherman, Steve Booth and Mike Butts.

#1: The (14-0) team of 2010. These Tigers won the first-ever MHSAA state title for Hudson. They set a school record with 527 points scored and allowed 132. For nine games the numbers are 357-93. They had one close regular season game (22-12) vs. Blissfield. They beat five regular season teams that made the playoffs. They won five playoff games by a margin of 170-39. They were ranked number one all season and never trailed in any game in the fourth quarter. Key players were single season rushing leader and consensus all-stater Drew Milligan (2280 yards), all-stater Matthew Smith, all-stater Meiko McDaniel, Grant Benschoter, all-stater Jimmy Williams and Camden McCaskey.

*The only criteria to be a top ten all-time team was to have gone 9-0 in the regular season. Also, all teams except the 1956 team had seniors only listed as key players. Now for the special mention teams #’s 15-11.

#15: The (9-0) team of 1985. This team had three narrow wins Clinton (32-26), Erie Mason (16-14) and Onsted (9-7). They fell to Galesburg-Augusta (21-6) in the playoff opener. They scored 282 points and gave up 118 for all ten games.

#14: The (9-0) team of 1976. The regular season winning streak continued on as Hudson had now won 80 straight. This team had two close calls both at home with Manchester (16-12) and Hillsdale (26-20) in double overtime. They scored 310 and allowed 65. Just missed playoffs due to computer point averages.

#13: The (9-0) team of 1972. They scored 302 but only allowed 23. Five shutouts and just two close games Blissfield (16-3) and at #1 ranked class D Grass Lake (12-6). Key win came over state ranked Homer (42-0). Also, beat Morenci (42-0) in season finale to tie state win record at 44 in a row. Finished ranked #1 in class C.

#12: The (9-0) team of 1969. Saylor’s first of eight (9-0) teams. Scored 336 and allowed just 20 points. Posted six shutouts and had one narrow escape (14-6) vs. H.W.Lutheran East. Finished ranked second to (9-0) Frankenmuth. Extended winning streak to 17 games.

#11: The (9-0) team of 1974. Won the game-of-the-century over Addison before 5,000 fans (26-21) after trailing 13-0 early. Won at the buzzer at Grass Lake (14-8) on the final play. Edged Hillsdale (16-14). Winning streak moves to 62 in a row. Points were 322-49 with five shutouts.

*The criteria of only undefeated regular season teams continued on. Now for the final five honorable mention teams to make the top 20.

#20: The (8-1) team of 1994. They scored 243 points and allowed 124. Lone loss to (9-0 unbeaten) Onsted by a score of (44-13). Posted three shutouts. Close call vs. Hillsdale (9-8).

#19. The (8-1) team of 1967. Scored 237 points and allowed 63. Suffered a (19-7) loss to Blissfield. Won last eight including winning at top-ranked Class D Adrian Catholic Central (34-26) after trailing 20-7 at halftime. Recorded five shutouts.

#18. The (8-1) team of 1980. Put up 189 points and allowed just 40. Posted six shutouts. Fell to Manchester (13-6) at home. Edged three-win Onsted team (3-0).

#17: The (8-1) team of 1955. Put up 284 points and allowed 60. Only loss to class B Hillsdale (13-6). Two shutouts but only allowed single digits in seven games. Big win vs. Pittsford (65-6).

#16: The (9-0) team of 1971. They won five close games Lutheran East (8-0), Grass Lake (22-16), at Manchester in the fog (12-6), Flat Rock (20-16) and Morenci (6-0). Arguably the greatest coaching job by not only Tom Saylor but his assistant Ray Curran during the streak that moved to 26 games. Finished ranked #2 to (9-0) North Muskegon.

That’s it. So agree, disagree, discuss, reminisce, argue and relive the past because these are 20 of the greatest gridiron teams ever at Hudson High School.