Happy Homecoming! Raiders snap Cardinals’ 17-game BRC win streakHudson’s football team gave the Raider faithful plenty of reasons to celebrate homecoming Friday night at Newton Field.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
Hudson’s football team gave the Raider faithful plenty of reasons to celebrate homecoming Friday night at Newton Field.
The Raiders defeated two-time Big Rivers Conference champion Chippewa Falls, 19-14, in front of a packed house at Newton Field, picking up their first BRC win of the season in the process and snapping the Cardinals 17-game conference winning streak dating back to 2006.
“I’m so excited right now,” senior co-captain Beau Hommes said after the Raiders’ first win over the Cardinals since 2003. “This is one of the greatest days of my life.”
Hommes, who was injured in the Raiders first game of the season and missed the last two contests, returned in the second half with the Raiders clinging to a 7-6 lead and tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Derek Krumrei that extended the lead to 14-6.
The Cardinals tied the score early in the fourth quarter with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion, but Jake Denison drilled a 31-yard field goal with 6:14 remaining to give the Raiders the lead for good, 17-14.
Senior co-captain Chas Larson sealed the win by sacking Cardinal quarterback Ryan Hillman in the end zone for a safety with 4:39 remaining to make the final 19-14.
“This was a huge win for the program,” Raider head coach Adam Kowles said. “To beat a team like Chippewa Falls is a great accomplishment. That’s a very good football team over there and they have been in this league for many years now.”
Kowles credited the loud and boisterous crowd with playing a key role in the victory.
“I can’t say enough about the fan support at the game,” he said. “The crowd was tremendous from start to finish, and that really helps the home team.”
The Raiders struck first when Tyler Smith carried the ball over on 4th-and-goal from the one with 3:37 remaining in the first quarter. Chippewa Falls pulled to within a point with a touchdown late in the second quarter, but Mike Bennett blocked the Cardinals’ extra-point attempt to keep the Raiders ahead, 7-6, at halftime.
Hommes made his first appearance in three games in the second half, and after Sam Stephens recovered a Cardinal fumble at the Raider 42, hit Smith for a 35-yard gain on 3rd-and-9 down to the Cardinal 23.
Smith carried twice to the 14 before Hommes followed his offensive lineman for a first down on 4th-and-1 to the 13. Two plays later, Hommes hit Krumrei in the corner of the end zone and Denison added the extra point to extend the Raider lead to 14-6.
After the Cardinals tied the score with a touchdown and two-point conversion with 9:22 remaining in the game, Hudson marched from its own 29 to the Cardinals 14, aided by consecutive personal foul penalties against Chippewa Falls. Hommes’ third down pass intended for Smith in the end zone was broken up but Denison came on and nailed the field goal from 31-yards out to give Hudson a lead it would never relinquish.
The Raiders pinned the Cardinals at their own three-yard line on the ensuing kickoff, and on 3rd-and-7 from the six, Larson chased down Hillman and brought him down in the end zone for a safety, much to the delight of the Raider fans.
Kowles said every aspect of the Raider team chipped in for the win.
“First of all, the special teams were outstanding,” he said. “From pinning Chippewa Falls deep in their territory to set up the safety, to hitting the game winning field goal, to blocking an extra point, we really clicked on special teams. Those are the things that win football games. The offense and defense both stepped up when they had to. We weren’t perfect on either side of the ball, but we did what we needed to do when it counted.”
Smith finished with 73 yards rushing in 12 carries and also caught a pass for 35 yards, while Bennett and Chas Larson made 11 tackles each to lead the defense.
Kowles said the team was going to enjoy its victory, then get right back to work preparing for this week’s game at Rice Lake.
“I’m proud of the effort of the players,” he said. “This is a big win for them and every guy on the team deserves it, not only because of what they do during the game, but also by laying it on the line every day in practice. The toughest thing now is putting that behind us and getting ready for Rice Lake, but we need to move forward.”
The Raiders will face the Warriors in Rice Lake at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25.