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Football: Raiders handed first loss

 

The Raider football team battled back from an early 22-3 deficit to pull within five early in the fourth quarter but couldn't get over the hump in a 36-24 loss to eighth-ranked Menomonie Friday night, Sept. 15, in Menomonie.

Aaron Squires' one-yard touchdown run and Ben Karls' extra point cut the Mustangs' lead to 22-17, but with the game on the line Menomonie milked over seven minutes off the clock to widen the gap to 29-17 on Justin Evans' fourth touchdown run of the game, from five-yards out.

Evans scored his fifth touchdown on a 41-yard run later in the quarter before Riley Brown's 17-yard run and Karls' extra point made the final 36-24.

The loss was the first in Big Rivers Conference play this season for Hudson and dropped their record to 3-2 overall while Menomonie improved to 5-0, 3-0 in conference play.

Raider coach Adam Kowles said he liked his team's chances after coming back from 19 points down to pull within five in the fourth quarter.

"Give them credit, though," he said about the Mustangs. "Their offensive line controlled the game and they were able to bleed out the clock and score late to put the game away."

The Mustangs drained the clock early to score on their first three possessions, all touchdown runs by Evans. Hudson got a 27-yard field goal by Karls in the first quarter and a 31-yard pass from Keyser Helterbrand to Max Stubbendick just before halftime to trim the gap to 22-10.

"Moving the ball early on offense but needing to settle for a couple of field goal opportunities put us behind in the first half," Kowles noted. "It would have been a different game had we been able to put in a touchdown or two in the first quarter. I really like the way the guys fought back in the second quarter and getting that touchdown before the half was huge. We felt the momentum was starting to turn."

After a scoreless third quarter Squires punctuated a long Raider drive with his one-yard touchdown to make it a 22-17 game, but that's as close as Hudson could get.

"The defense came up with a couple stops in the third quarter, but we weren't able to capitalize on those opportunities on offense," Kowles said. "Although I thought our offense moved the ball really well for most of the game. With the mix of run and pass we kept them guessing on defense, which kept us in the game."

Helterbrand completed 12-of-22 passes for 196 yards and the Raiders added 214 more yards on the ground, led by Helterbrand's 78 yards on 11 carries. Stubbendick caught three passes for 91 yards while Brown had five catches for 61.

The Mustangs put the game on the shoulders of Davis and their experienced offensive line. Davis carried the ball 37 times for 312 yards and Menomonie finished with 398 total yards—all on the ground. They attempted just two passes all night.

Jacob Daulton led Hudson's defense with 12 tackles while Cody Cicha had ten and Cole Godbout registered 11. Godbout also had a sack and two tackles for loss while Alec Kolander recovered a fumble.

Hudson returns to campus for its annual Homecoming game this Friday, Sept. 22, against Rice Lake (4-0, 3-0). The Homecoming Royalty Coronation will take place at 6 p.m. at Raider Stadium with football kicking off at 7 p.m.

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.
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