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Doug's Diggings: Trip to Florida; all-time grid records

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opinion River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

In keeping with my style of traveling to various places at odd times of the year, we went to Florida recently to enjoy the heat and humidity in the Fort Myers area. Some may recall that we went to Duluth during the winter -- now Florida in the summer. There is something a bit odd about our timing!

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The good news is, my wife and I had our entire family - two sons, their wives and a grandchild. We were able to enjoy some great times together during the course of about nine days near the beach.

I did something very unique for me -- a group of us took a segway tour. I'd never been on a segway, but the tour guide gave us all a quick course in operating the machines and we were on our way. segways operate strictly on balance - you lean forward you go forward, you lean back, you stop, or go in reverse.

The tour lasted over two-and-a-half hours and gave us some unique stops along the way. The most interesting part of the ride was crossing the bridge from Fort Myers beach onto the mainland. The bridge is high and the guard rail doesn't seem nearly high enough when you are standing on the segway, already a foot above the sidewalk! We all survived the trip, however, and had a great time.

I don't, however, expect the segway to be the transport of the future. When they first came out they were introduced as the next generation of transportation -- I think their role will be for guided tours and security guards at malls and airports.

We also rented a pontoon boat for half a day. The trip included stops at a beach, a stop for lunch and a close up view of some dolphins.

Some of our group attended various baseball games. One night we drove up to Tampa Bay and saw the Rays play the Texas Randers. Another night we went to a Fort Myers Miracle minor league baseball game. We took one entire day and visited the Everglades and then attended a Florida Marlin game (against Houston) in Miami.

The Everglades trip included an airboat ride at a place called Wootens. Between the airboat ride and a walk on a path in the Everglades, we saw plenty of alligators. The path in the Everglades was on a wooden path, a bit off the ground. It was still eerie, however, to see nearly a dozen alligators resting awfully close to where people were walking.

The rest of our time was consumed with walking, swimming, eating and relaxing - a successful trip indeed!

***

The high school football season is already underway and, of course, we are all proud of the Hudson Raiders who are attempting to repeat as the Big Rivers Conference Champions. Last year the Raiders won the title and it was Hudson's first football title since 1982 -- a season when Hudson was involved in a three-way tie for the championship. Last year was Hudson's first outright title since 1973. The Raiders were co-champs in 1974. Hudson was a bit of a football power in the 1950s and 1960s, winning several titles under the coaching of Carver Fouks and Don Kadidlo. Hudson also had strong teams in the 1930s and 1940s.

Longtime Raider fans may remember the 1982 season when Hudson tied with Baldwin-Woodville and Durand (Middle Border Conference) for the title. In those days, the playoffs were relatively new and only the conference champ advanced. The three teams held a coin flip and Durand advanced to the playoffs by winning the tosses. Harry Kaminsky was the Raider coach that year. After six seasons at the helm, he resigned after the 1984 season and was very critical of the school district's commitment to the football program. Jerry Roesch headed the squad from 1985 to 1987. Gerry Uchytil took over in 1988.

Hudson didn't have another winning season until 1993 and advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 1996 under the coaching of Uchytil.

Raider fortunes have taken a turn for the better in the past decade. Hudson made the playoffs again under Uchytil during his final season in 2001 and under Craig Jilek in 2003. Adam Kowles came on board in 2005 and his squads have advanced to the playoffs four of the past five seasons, missing in only 2006.

Hudson moved from the Middle Border Conference to the Big Rivers Conference in 1986.

While looking through an old Star-Observer a few weeks back I found a list of football records I compiled in 1980. At the time I went through yearbooks and old Star-Observers to attempt to compile Hudson's all-time football records. When I stumbled onto the list, I decided to fill in the blanks and researched the records from 1981 to the present. The all-time Hudson football records look like this (see attached PDF chart):

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