Raiders top CF, at Rice Lake Thursday night, open playoffs Tuesday
The Hudson Raider football team eased past Chippewa Falls 27-13 last Friday night and faces two critical tests in the next six days. Thursday (Oct. 23) Hudson travels to Rice Lake in a battle of two 5-1 (BRC) squads. The winner will likely win outright possession of second place, with an outside chance of tying for the league title if Menomonie were to stumble in its season finale at Superior.
Tuesday night the Raiders open the first round of the WIAA playoffs. The site and opponent, however, will not be determined until after Thursday night's game. For game information visit the Star-Observer Web site at rivertowns.net, the WIAA Web site at wiaawi.org or call the high school at (715) 386-4226.
"We're looking forward to the next five or six days," said Raider coach Craig Jilek. The anticipation is high and we're excited to see who we will be playing next Tuesday."
With a game Thursday at Rice Lake and a playoff game on Tuesday, teams don't have a lot of time to prepare for the first-round opponent.
"We'll find out who we play Friday and we coaches will probably pull an all-nighter getting a game plan in place," Jilek said. "As the procedure goes, the participating coaches in the first-round playoff game will drive halfway after practice Friday afternoon and exchange game films. Each coach will spend the rest of the evening and night reviewing the opponent's films and getting a game plan into place. A squad really has just two practices after the information is exchanged, Saturday and Monday.
Before the playoff round, of course, Jilek is concentrating on Thursday's game against Rice Lake.
"They have a good team and run the option offense," Jilek said. "Everyone will have to do their job on defense to stop the Rice Lake attack. It will require sound, fundamental execution.
Hudson and Rice Lake enter the game with identical 5-1 Big Rivers Conference records. Hudson is 7-1 overall, while Rice Lake is 6-2.
"We enter this game with a chance for first place if Menomonie were to be surprised in Superior," Jilek said.
Hudson moved to 5-1 (7-1 overall) with the win over Chippewa Falls Friday night. Hudson found itself in a dogfight against the lowly Cardinals (1-5, 1-7). The score was knotted at 13-13 entering the fourth quarter before Hudson broke away with two touchdowns in the final 12 minutes.
Eric Scholz led the Hudson attack, completing nine of 15 passes for 196 yards. Aaron Moen caught two of the passes for 75 yards. Shane Johnson led the Hudson rushing with 74 yards in 11 carries. Nick Francis added 62 yards in 19 carries.
Chippewa took a 7-0 lead in the second period when Hudson misplayed a punt attempt
the third time in the last two games. The Cardinals recovered the ball at the Hudson 17-yard line. After three plays, the Raider defense had shoved the Cards back to the 24, but quarterback Jon Erickson found Nate Taylor in the end zone on fourth down and Chippewa led 7-0.
Hudson was stymied on offense most of the first half, but late in the second quarter Raider quarterback Eric Scholz found receiver Aaron Moen open down the sidelines and Moen raced untouched into the end zone. The play covered 65 yards. Todd Marino added the PAT and the score was tied 7-7.
Hudson started the third period with an impressive nine-play drive that covered 60 yards and culminated with a touchdown. Shane Johnson carried the ball the final two yards. Johnson and Nick Francis did most of the damage as Hudson ran the football on the entire drive. Hudson led 13-7 with 7:53 left in the third quarter.
Chippewa came right back, however, going 64 yards in eight plays. Matt Severson took the ball in from the 1-yard line and the score was tied 13-13 with 4:32 left in the period.
Hudson took the lead for good midway through the fourth quarter when Scholz tossed a 37-yard strike to Jamie Smith on a fourth-down play. The touchdown ended a nine-play 80-yard drive. The other big play on the drive was a 25-yard pass from Scholz to Bret Gresmer. A penalty nullified a two-point conversion and Hudson settled for a 19-13 lead.
The defense stuffed Chippewa on the Cards' next possession and Hudson got the ball back at the Chippewa 40 with 4:08 left in the game. Minutes later, Johnson scored from three yards out to ice the victory. Francis added the two-point conversion and Hudson led 27-13 with 1:56 left in the game.
Chippewa drove into Hudson territory late in the game, but the drive was stopped when Waylon Meyer intercepted a Chippewa pass at the Raider 28-yard line.
Jilek was pleased with the play of Scholz and his receivers on offense.
"Eric had a nice game and our receivers made some excellent catches," Jilek said.
He praised Scholz's work on the touchdown that put Hudson ahead in the fourth quarter.
"It was a fourth down play and Eric checked down to his third receiver, hit Jamie Smith for the score," Jilek said.
He also praised the running of Shane Johnson and Nick Francis. On defense he said Chad Wert and Tyson Abel had outstanding games.