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Football: Raiders scratch out a win on the road

It wasn't the Raider football team's best game of the season, but Hudson made the big plays when it needed to and came away with a 21-12 road win at Dairy State Bank Field in Rice Lake Friday night to improve to 2-1 in Big Rivers Conference play, 4-1 overall.

The Raiders will visit River Falls to battle for the Little Brown Jug this Friday night, Oct. 2. River Falls has won the last two meetings between the teams and Hudson will be looking to win back possession of the jug since its last victory in the storied rivalry in 2006.

Head coach Adam Kowles said the Raiders will need to be more consistent than they were at Rice Lake.

"I don't think we played that well in any phase of the game from start to finish," he said. "But we did enough to get the win. A Big Rivers Conference road win is huge, especially against a team like Rice Lake at their new stadium, so we're happy to come away with it."

Three different players scored touchdowns in the win and Jake Denison was perfect on all three extra point attempts to account for Hudson's 21 points.

Andy Edholm got things started when he capped a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with 6:04 remaining in the first quarter. Travis Hilden scored with a minute remaining on a 20-yard run, capping a 10-play, 70-yard drive, and Denison added the kick to extend the Raider lead to 14-0.

The Warriors put together a 16-play, 86-yard drive to cut the gap to 14-6 on a 5-yard touchdown run by Kody Novinska. Novinska's extra point attempt was wide right and the Raiders went into the locker room with an eight-point lead.

Quarterback Beau Hommes scored on a 3-yard keeper with 4:45 remaining in the third, and Denison's third extra point of the night extended the Raider lead to 21-6. Rice Lake made the final 21-12 on a 1-yard Novinska TD run with 8:55 to play. A bad snap led to another missed extra point attempt.

Hommes carried the ball 18 times for 90 yards and completed 2-of-4 passes for 42 yards, both to Caleb Ryberg and one for a 39-yard gain. Edholm added 67 yards rushing in 15 attempts while Hilden carried the ball seven times for 52 yards. Hommes, Edholm and Hilden all had carries of over 20 yards.

Kyle Swanger led the Raider defense with 10 solo tackles and Arthur Vinzant had nine solo tackles while Chas Larson finished with ten total tackles, eight solo. Sam Stephens contributed nine total tackles, eight solo.

The Raiders outgained the Warriors 278 to 189 but fumbled twice and lost one for the only turnover of the game. They held Rice Lake to an average of just 3.2 rushing yards per attempt and one pass completion for 14 yards. Hudson was 6-for-11 on third downs and 1-for-3 on fourth down.

"I thought we stepped it up when we needed to and made some nice plays, but we also had some breakdowns on offense, defense and special teams," Kowles said. "Consistency is going to be the key as we move forward and eliminating mistakes. I love the way our guys play though. They play hard from start to finish and really believe in each other.

"We must be able to execute for four quarters though, instead of having a good quarter here and there," he added. "That's kind of been the story all season; not being able to put four quarters together in all three phases of the game. It's not going to get any easier as the season goes on, so we must continue to improve."

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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