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Football: Raiders eye BRC title

Hudson quarterback Keyser Helterbrand leaves a pair of Eau Claire Memorial defenders on the ground at midfield on his way to a 70-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of the Raider's 43-21 homecoming victory over the Old Abes Friday night, Oct. 5, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 3
Hudson defensive back Jakes Assembo (2) nearly picks off a pass intended for Eau Claire Memorial's Nathan Hau in the first quarter of the Raider's 43-21 homecoming victory over the Old Abes Friday night, Oct. 5, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 3
Hudson defensive lineman Alonzo Madsen wraps up Eau Claire Memorial's Calvin Tanner for a loss in the first half of the Raider's 43-21 homecoming victory over the Old Abes Friday night, Oct. 5, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 3

Hudson football coach Adam Kowles didn't have to worry about his team becoming distracted by homecoming in the week leading up to last Friday night's game against Eau Claire Memorial.

The Raiders are focused on winning a Big Rivers Conference title, and they looked sharp from the opening snap on their way to a 43-21 victory that kept them tied with River Falls atop the BRC standings.

Keyser Helterbrand ran for four touchdowns and threw for another-- all in the first half-- as the Raiders improved to 5-1 in conference play (7-1 overall) with one week remaining in the regular season.

“The guys played with a lot of intensity right from the start of the game,” Kowles said. “Homecoming is always a long week and you just hope the energy level is there the entire game. I thought the guys handled the week great and were able to focus on the game.”

The win, coupled with River Falls' 40-16 victory at Superior and Menomonie's 26-20 loss to Rice Lake, leaves Hudson and River Falls tied for the BRC lead heading into the final week of the regular season. The Wildcats will host Eau Claire North (0-6, 0-8) this Friday at 7 p.m. while the Raiders will visit Chippewa Falls (2-4, 4-4). The Raider’s last conference title came in 2013.

Hudson enters Friday night’s regular season finale averaging 35.3 points per game while allowing 17-5 while the Cardinals average 30.8 and while giving up 28.8. Those numbers include a 67-65 double overtime victory for the Cardinals over Eau Claire Memorial Sept. 14.

Helterbrand has accounted for a team-high 26 touchdowns this season-- 16 on the ground and 10 through the air, while rushing for an average of 92.4 yards per game and passing for 165.4. He’s completed 60.5 percent of his passes (95-157) with just one interception.

Ben Karls has been Helterbrand’s top target with 39 catches for 562 yards and six touchdowns while Cole Danielson has rushed for nine touchdowns while averaging 82.7 yards per game.

Hudson has already assured itself a spot in the WIAA playoffs for the third straight season and tenth time in the last 12 years. Playoff pairings will be announced Monday, Oct. 15, with Level 1 games scheduled for Friday night, Oct. 19.

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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