The 1-1 Hudson Tigers finally saw their regular season winning streak brought to an end at the hands of the 2-0 Morenci Bulldogs. Hudson looked like they were going to cruise to another victory when a second half comeback by the Bulldogs gave them the 34-28 loss.
Hudson scored first at the halfway point of the opening quarter on a Shay McDaniel five yard run. They scored again a minute later on a JD Waters run, this one from only a yard out. Morenci answered back soon after with a 38 yard touchdown run from Austin Sandusky. They missed their extra point, making the score at the end of the first a Hudson 14-6 lead.
Early into the second, McDaniel hit Justin Boies for a 23 yard touchdown pass. On the next possession, the Bulldogs answered back with a big run from Ryan Amos that covered much of the field at 71 yards. Sandusky took in a two point conversion to make the score 21-14 at halftime.
On their first drive of the second half, Morenci drove down the field and scored on a three yard run by Sandusky. They tried for two, but it was stuffed and made the score 21-20. The rest of the quarter was a defensive struggle and no one added any more points.
The defenses held up until late into the fourth, when Torin Merillat found Elijah Wolf for a 10 yard touchdown pass. A two point pass attempt was good, giving Morenci their first lead of the night. Hudson answered back a minute later with a 28 yard touchdown pass from Alex Messer to Boies. After the extra point, the score was tied up 28-28. With just 45 seconds left on the clock, Merillat hit Sandusky who took the pass 45 yards for a touchdown. The lead held and Morenci pulled the upset, 34-28.
Morenci did the one thing that Hudson struggles with: they got time to throw and put the ball in the air. Morenci completed only three passes, but they totaled 153 yards off of them. Surprisingly though, Morenci moved the ball well on the ground and their defense kept Hudson in check.
Hudson’s quarterback Messer was two for nine for 49 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The leading rusher was Kameron Belfy, who had 15 carries for 70 yards. Waters added another 18 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. Boies was the leading receiver with three catches totaling 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Merillat lead the way through the air with six attempts, completing three of them for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Sandusky rushed for 22 attempts that went for 152 yards with two touchdowns. Cody Powell was the top receiver with one catch that went for 71 yards. Sandusky added a catch as well that was a 45 yard touchdown.
Hudson needs to tighten up their pass defense. They only gave up three passes, but they were huge plays that went for big yards. I think a lot of that goes to the inexperience of secondary. The running game also worked well for Morenci, but that is possible that because the passing game opened it up. Hudson knows that their secondary is the weakest part of their defense, so they are going to need to make sure they get pressure now that a way to beat them has been shown. The big plays need to be shut down too. That is what really hurt them against Morenci.
Hudson’s offense didn’t do as well as they usually are accustomed to, but they were pretty solid. When a running team like this totals 200 yards, you expect to win. They even added 72 yards passing and scored 28 points. With stats like that and a running game like this, you expect to win.
Hudson next week will host conference opponent in the 0-2 Blissfield Royals. The Royals played the 1-0 Clinton Redskins and were soundly defeated 39-14.
Morenci will begin conference play against the 0-2 Whitmore Lake Trojans. Whitmore Lake hosted the 1-0 Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard Fighting Irish and lost 24-8.