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Raiders lose early lead, game to River Falls

The Raider football team jumped to a 21-0 lead against River Falls, but couldn't hold it, and a last drive fell well short and spelled a 22-21 loss on homecoming.

Hudson immediately took the ball away from River Falls on a fumble and on one of their first offensive plays, quarterback Chase Graskewicz threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mark Van Den Broeke.

That was followed by a six-yard touchdown run around right end by Graskewicz, where a good fake found most of the defense thinking the ball had been run up the middle, and in what has become a short-yardage staple, a quarterback keeper for another touchdown. Hudson led by three TDs with much of the second quarter still remaining.

River Falls scored its first touchdown shortly before halftime, then added two more in the fourth quarter. A two-point conversion by River Falls proved to be the difference.

"They played well up front and came off the ball well," Coach Adam Kowles said. The Wildcats may have worn down the Raider defense by pounding the ball with their running backs.

"I don't think that's necessary so. We need to finish a half and finish the game. We almost scored too quickly," Kowles said. "We ran the ball pretty well, and the guys executed well offensively, on the ground and passing the ball."

Hudson had most of their 338 total yards in the first half. Five different backs ran for at least 18 yards, and four players caught passes from Graskewicz, who threw for 123.

"At the end, we couldn't put the ball in the end zone and we couldn't keep them out of the end zone," Kowles said, adding that he thought his team could come back on a final drive and win it. However, they didn't get the ball out of their own territory.

Kowles said his team works on the two-minute drill each week in practice. This time they gave up a big sack, and Kowles noted that often in this game, they tried to work their receivers deeper downfield, and that means the quarterback needs more time.

"We were running the ball well and that sets up the passing," Kowles said, citing especially one big play early in the contest. "The defense did a nice job early on too."

They held River Falls without too many big plays, as the Wildcats got all three touchdowns on one-yard runs.

"We still have to put everything together, offense, defense and special teams," Kowles said. "We haven't done that all year, played a complete game. We need to get consistent."

Next up is always powerful Menomonie, who Kowles said will also pound the ball with its backs, then play-action pass.

"They are very good on defense and are so aggressive," Kowles said. "We (preseason) scrimmage them every year, but they don't show you much then. They'll show it to you down the road."

Kowles said his team is excited about the game. "They will bounce back because they're a resilient bunch. We've got to get back to work. It's tough after a loss like that ... but there's no time to feel sorry for yourself," Kowles said.

Menomonie suffered a non-conference loss at Marshfield to open the season, but since then has won four straight.

River Falls 0 7 0 15 - 22

Hudson 6 15 0 0 - 21

Van Den Broeke 38 pass from Graskewicz (kick failed); Graskewicz 6 yard run (Stanchik pass from Graskewicz); Graskewicz 1 yard run (Graskewicz kick); RF 1 yard run (PAT kick); RF 1 yard run (PAT pass); RF 1 yard run (PAT kick); Rushing: Edholm 14-61; Perron 10-55; Graskewicz 17-51 2 TD; Smith 10-30; Francis 1-18.

Receiving: Van Den Broeke 4-94 1 TD, Stanchik 1-12; Perron 1-10; Francis 1-7.

Passing: Graskewicz 7-17 1 TD, 2 INT.