HUDSON, Wis. -- This has been anything but a normal football season for Wisconsin high school football teams. But Hudson coach Adam Kowles is grateful that in the midst of a pandemic, with distance learning and social distancing, that his players found some sense of normalcy on the football field.
“A lot of stuff that is normal for these guys they haven’t been able to experience,” he said. “For me? Who cares. But if you’re a senior or junior or sophomore in high school, there’s all the stuff that goes on that you’re losing. But to be able to play football. Once the game starts it’s pretty normal. You’re playing and the refs are there and they’re blowing whistles and you’re tackling and throwing and catching. That’s kind of the one thing that is normal. And we’re so happy we were able to do that with these guys.”
Normal for Hudson also includes winning, and the Raiders ended their most unusual season in history with a 38-26 victory over Marshfield in a Division 1, Level 2 playoff game on their home field Friday night, Nov. 19.
Quarterback Owen Anderson ran for four touchdowns and Matteo Bonnin another as the Raiders jumped out to a 21-3 second quarter lead in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score looked.
Officially, the Raiders ended the season with a 7-2 record, but one of those wins was a COVID-related forfeit from D.C. Everest in their Level 1 playoff game. Kowles said he’s thrilled the Raiders were able to play eight of their nine scheduled games in the middle of a pandemic.
“We didn’t even know if we were going to play any games,” he noted. “And to be able to play eight games, and to win a lot of those games -- I’m just so happy we could do it.”
Hudson jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead over Marshfield on a 15-yard keeper by Anderson just over three minutes in.
Anderson found Bonnin on a short crossing pattern and Bonnin beat two defenders to the pylon to make it a 14-0 game late in the first quarter before the Raider defense stopped Marshfield three times inside the two-yard line and the Tigers settled for a 19-yard field goal to make it a 14-3 game.
Anderson scored on a one-yard sneak midway through the second quarter to extend the lead to 21-3 but Marshfield got a 28-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Foemmel to Logan Durham and after a failed two-point conversion the score was 21-9.
The Raiders took over at their own 46-yard line with 55 seconds left in the half and the drive ended with a 26-yard field goal by Alex Muenich to send Hudson into the locker room with a 24-9 lead.
Anderson added a pair of three-yard touchdown runs in the second half while Marshfield got another field goal in the third to make it a 38-12 game before the Tigers scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to make the final 38-26.
Kowles described the Raiders’ season-ending victory as bittersweet.
“It’s a strange feeling,” he said. “We won our last game and we go out on top. But it’s kind of bittersweet because this is the last time this group is going to be together. There’s probably not going to be a banquet and we’re probably not going to have a team meeting at the end; maybe something virtual. But this is the last time this team will be together and I think now they realize that.”
He also said he couldn’t be any prouder of the Raider seniors.
“I have to give a shout out to those guys for just going to work every day and bringing some normalcy to my life and all the coaches' lives,” he said. “They never complained, they never questioned why we have to do this or that, they just did it. And it was so fun to play so many games with these guys.”