HUDSON-- There were a couple times in Friday night's game against undefeated Superior when the Raiders could have put our heads down and folded. But Hudson has come a long way since dropping its first three games of the season.
After a back-and-forth first half that ended with Superior holding a 24-21 lead, Hudson scored the final four touchdowns of the game to hand the Spartans their first loss of the season, 49-24, in a Big Rivers Conference game at Hudson’s Raider Stadium.
The game started off as a defensive battle with each team punting the first two times they had the ball.
On Hudson’s second punt, Superior was called for roughing the kicker, giving the ball back to the Raiders, who eventually moved the ball inside the 20.
On a first-down play for Hudson, Superior’s Cody Kurki picked up a Raider fumble and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. The Spartans missed the extra point, making the score 6-0 with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.
Hudson didn’t take the lead for good until midway through the third quarter when a 95-yard drive ended with Hunter Danielson scoring his third touchdown of the game, from 5-yards out, to make the score 28-24. But the fourth quarter belonged to the Raiders with quarterback Owen Anderson scoring on runs of 34 and 18 yards and Chase McArthur adding a 2-yard TD run to make the final 49-24.
"A lot of credit goes to the players for responding and having a relentless attitude all night," Hudson coach Adam Kowles said. "At halftime they were calm and focused. The defensive staff put together a great plan for the second half and really made it difficult for them to do anything on offense. The O-line played a really physical game and set the tone on offense. It is always great when our team gets stronger as the game goes on."
Hudson’s offense was dominating, running 82 plays to just 47 for Superior; and finishing with 486 yards, including 434 rushing. Danielson and Anderson combined for 193 yards and five touchdowns as the Raiders improved to 2-3 overall, 2-1 in the BRC.
After Superior scored the only touchdown of the first quarter the game turned into a track meet in the second quarter with 39 points scored, including three touchdowns in a span of 1:14.
Danielson scored from 4 yards out and Hudson took a 7-6 lead on Dan Zeuli’s extra-point kick.
Will Schorr’s long kick return set up Caden Stone’s 3-yard TD run for Superior, but Matteo Bonnin returned the ensuing kick 84 yards for a touchdown for a 14-12 Raider lead.
The Spartans took the lead right back on Carter Fonger’s 27-yard touchdown pass from Kaden Kimmes, but another long kick return by Bonnin set up Danielson’s second TD from a yard out, making the score 21-18 Hudson with 1:49 left in the half.
The Spartans weren’t done yet as they started at their own 35 and six plays later took a 24-21 lead on Kimmes’ 35-yard pass pass to Brady Herbst with no time left on the clock.
"The guys kept coming back through adversity," Kowles said. "The early fumble going in they ran back for a touchdown was a blow, but we fought back and responded. The score they had before halftime could have been hard to overcome, but we came back stronger.
The Spartans failed on all four extra-points attempts, two kicking and two running, while Zeuli made all seven of his extra point attempts.
Danielson finished with 98 yards on 23 carries while Anderson carried the ball 14 times for 95 yards and was 4-of-6 passing for 52 yards. Bonnin added 81 yards on 12 carries and returned two kicks for 161 yards.
Ethan Amelsberg led the defense with six solo tackles and Cade McDonald had four tackles and two tackles for loss while Evan Tyler had six total tackles and a sack.
Hudson will visit undefeated Menomonie (5-0, 3-0) Friday, Sept. 27.