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Hudson’s football team, led by Jake Giordana, left, Matt Wang (68), Madison Davis (94), Wade Malecha (31), Ross Wusterbarth (17), Mathias Tobin (71), Cal Johnson (7), Landry Otten (13) and Gavin Goeltz (8), sing the school fight song in front of the student section at Goerke Park in Stevens Point after defeating Green Bay Preble, 38-22, in a Level 2 playoff game last Saturday. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Bob Burrows)

Raider football team moves on to quarterfinals with 10th straight win

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Things didn’t start well for the Raider football team in its WIAA Level 2 playoff game against Green Bay Preble last Saturday. But once they got rolling there was no stopping them.

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Landry Otten threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns to Jake Giordana, Wade Malecha rushed for 169 yards, and Hunter Frey and Braden Marvin each ran for a touchdown as the Raiders erased an early 7-0 deficit to post a 38-22 victory over the Hornets at Stevens Point’s Goerke Field.

The win sends the Raiders, now 10-1 overall into a WIAA state quarterfinal game against Appleton North (10-1) this Saturday, Nov. 9, in Chippewa Falls. The game is a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal game won by Hudson, 40-21. The Raiders have won ten straight games since a season-opening loss at Minnetonka, Minn.

“I am proud of the way the guys responded all game,” head coach Adam Kowles said after Saturday’s win. “When we needed a play, someone stepped up and made one, but I'm not surprised because that's the way these guys have played all year long. There are no easy wins once you get to this point in the season and we are happy to be advancing.”

Preble took the opening kickoff and 66 yards to take a 7-0 lead. Hudson muffed the ensuing kickoff and was pinned at their own nine yard-line and things continued to go downhill when Preble picked off a pass on the Raiders first play from scrimmage and ran it back for a score for an apparent two touchdown lead.

But the Hornets were whistled for an illegal block after the interception and the ball was placed at the Raider 19-yard line. The Raider defense stepped up and following a Jared Johnson sack for a loss of seven, Miles Lewis broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone to swing the momentum back in Hudson’s favor.

“After Preble scored on the first drive and then we turned the ball over right away on our first drive, the defense made a great stand to keep them from scoring,” Kowles said. “That was the key sequence to the game because if they go up by two scores early it's a different ball game.”

Hudson’s offense went to work at its own 26, and following a Preble facemask penalty Otten hit Giordana for a 23-yard gain to the Green Bay 39 and Marvin ran for 17 yards down to the Hornet seven. Two plays later Frey ran three yards around left end and Kristian Bell added the extra point to tie the score.

Giordana scored the first of his three touchdowns midway through the second quarter to give the Raiders a 14-7 halftime lead, and Bell kicked a 28-yard field goal on the Raiders’ first possession of the second half to make it a 17-7 game.

Otten and Giordana hooked up for a 36-yard touchdown on Hudson’s ensuing possession to widen the gap to 24-7 before Preble quarterback Will Daniels scored on a two-yard run late in the third to cut the Raider lead to 10.

Hudson responded on the first play of the fourth quarter when Otten hit Giordana over the top for a 37-yard touchdown pass to extend the Raiders’ lead to 31-14, and after Preble missed a 22-yard field goal attempt, Marvin capped an 80-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown run to make the score 38-14 with five minutes remaining.

Preble reached into its bag of tricks and scored on a 47-yard hook-and-lateral on its next play from scrimmage but the Hornets never touched the ball again as the Raiders used a heavy dose of Malecha to churn up yardage and eat up the clock until taking three consecutive knees out of the victory formation at the Hornet three-yard line.

“In the first half, it seemed like we were pressing a little bit on offense, trying to force the big play,” Kowles said. “In the second half, the O-line did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage and we let the offense get into a rhythm running the ball.  We really got back to the basics and it kept their offense off the field.”

When the Hornets’ offense was on the field, the Raiders did a good job containing Preble’s dual-threat quarterback Daniels.

“They have such an athletic quarterback that it really put pressure on our defense,” Kowles said. “Except for a couple of stretches in the game, the defense did a nice job of containing their offense. When you don't give up the big play, it's hard for the offense to be able to move the ball up and down the field.”

Defensive back Cal Johnson finished with a team-high seven tackles while defensive end Jared Johnson had six tackles, one sack, one tackles for loss and knocked down two passes. Gavin Goeltz also had a sack while Ross Wusterbarth recorded two tackles for losses totaling 12 yards.

The Raiders outgained Preble 587-289 behind a balanced attack that featured 290 passing yards and 297 yards on the ground. Otten finished the game 15-of-22 for 290 yards with Giordana catching eight passes for 186 yards. Malecha carried the ball 30 times for 169 yards while Marvin added 98 yards in 11 attempts.

Raiders 7 7 10 14—38

Preble 7 0 7 8—22

Scoring Summary First Quarter GBP—Josh Sinclair 11-yard pass from Will Daniels, (Kick good), 8:15.

HUD—Hunter Frey 3-yard run (Kristian Bell kick), 3:16.

Second Quarter HUD—Jake Giordana 13-yard pass from Landry Otten (Kristian Bell kick), 8:02.

Third Quarter HUD—Kristian Bell 28-yard field goal, 9:33.

HUD—Jake Giordana 36-yard pass from Landry Otten (Kristian Bell kick), 5:47.

GBP—Will Daniels 2-yard run (kick good), 0:48.

Fourth Quarter HUD—Jake Giordana 37-yard pass from Landry Otten (Kristian Bell kick), 11:54.

HUD—Braden Marvin 27-yard run (Kristian Bell kick), 5:08.

GBP—Cory Cegelski 47-yard pass from Will Daniels (Run good), 4:50.

Team Stats                       HUD GBP

1st Downs                         24 14

Total Yds.                        587 289

Pass Yds.                         290 155

Rush Yds.                        297 134

Turnovers                            2 1

Individual Statistics RUSHING (att-yds): Wade Malecha 30-169; Braden Marvin 11-98; Hunter Frey 7-36; Landry Otten 6-(-6).

PASSING (comp-att-int-yds): Landry Otten 15-22-1-290.

RECEIVING (rec-yds): Jake Giordana 8-186; Alex Herink 4-59; Hunter Frey 3-45.

TACKLES: Cal Johnson 7, Jared Johnson 6, Lucas Traynor 5, Jack Koski 5, Ross Wusterbarth 5, Gavin Goeltz 3, Lonnie Meinke 3, Bryce DuCharme 2, Zach Kraft 2, Mile Lewis 1, Eliot Motu 1, Nick Bloomberg 1.

SACKS: Jared Johnson, Gavin Goeltz.

FUMBLE RECOVERY: Dayton Diemel.

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
(715) 426-1047
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