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SPASH makes a splash, at local gridders expense

Raider football coach Adam Kowles says the lack of quit in his team was evident when they marched for a late touchdown in a 35-8 loss to Stevens Point Area High School.

The loss was in the first playoff game of the year for the Raider football team, and Kowles said it would have been easy for the squad to simply pack it in and wait for next season. Rather, they took the ball 90 yards and avoided a shutout via a 23-yard touchdown pass from Chase Graskewicz to Josh Perron. Seth Stanchik caught a pass for the two-point conversion.

Graskewicz threw for 118 yards, 88 of them to Perron and another 30 to Mark VanDenBroeke. Andy Edholm managed seven yards on the ground and Tyler Smith 10 on two carries.

"They never quit and that is the bottom line. You could turn the scoreboard off, and they played that way all year. I am proud of their effort, and proud to be a part of it," Kowles said.

"That's the mentality, that we're going to play as long as anybody will let us play," he said. "This year's seniors didn't win a game when they were freshman, and they made a decision together that they were going to go for it."

Kowles said that commitment showed in the last couple of years. "I've watched them grow and improve and become men," he said.

The Raiders version 2009 will be charged with building on what the 28 seniors have left them, and going farther in the playoffs. The varsity will return about 44 players, mostly juniors and a few sophomores.

"This team came together and became a family. That is so important. It was an absolute pleasure to work with this great bunch of guys," Kowles said. "The seniors will be sorely missed for their leadership, discipline and work ethic. They care about each other and care about other people ... and they also are great football players."

In the midseason, Kowles said, the Raiders got on a roll that was most striking when they handily beat perennial power Menomonie for the first time in years. Hudson finished 6-4 and Point is now 8-2 and moves on to face D.C. Everest in the playoffs.