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Early turnovers prove costly as Hudson football routs Falls

by Rob Barrone | Correspondent Published: October 9, 2016 12:00 AM
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The rivalry between Hudson and Cuyahoga Falls football is long and well-established, but it has also been a bit one-sided in recent years.

Unfortunately for Falls, that trend continued Sept. 30 at Clifford Stadium.

Hudson capitalized on three first-quarter turnovers by the Black Tigers to jump out to a 21-0 lead and coast to a 37-6 Suburban League National Conference win.

Hudson improved to 5-1, 3-0 in the National Conference, while Falls dropped to 1-5, 0-3 in the conference. Falls finds itself on the wrong end of a 15-game losing streak to Hudson.

Rain turned Clifford Stadium into a muddy mess Sept. 30, which helped limit Hudson to a season-low 193 yards of offense. However, the Black Tigers could muster just 108 yards.

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"The weather and muddy field conditions almost felt a little nostalgic," Hudson first year coach Jeff Gough noted. "We tried to reel them back in. The coaching staff did a great job of getting them focused. I don't think it was a huge factor -- it affected both teams the same way."

Not quite.

The Black Tigers had three first-quarter turnovers and four for the night, while the Explorers played turnover-free ball.

"I thought about it. I thought it might help us out a little bit, but Hudson is a great team and great program," Falls' coach Sean Flaherty said. "A muddy field isn't going to take too much away from them. We did some things well but we shot ourselves in the foot a few times at very critical points but I do think we improved from last week and that's something to build on."

The first quarter mistakes spotted Hudson a 21-0 lead despite just 30 yards in total offense. Hudson defensive back Kolby Miller got things started for the Explorers, picking off Falls quarterback Nate Vassalotti and returning it 57 yards for a touchdown.

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The Black Tigers fumbled at their own 25-yard line and Hudson's Enrique Rodriguez was there to pounce on it.

Hudson then scored on a hook-and-ladder play. Quarterback Jackson Parker hit Greg Mailey on a short-out. Mailey then lateraled to offensive lineman Jonah Wieland, who went the remaining five yards for a 14-0 lead.

Then, a high snap on a Black Tiger punting sailed deep into Falls' territory and was eventually recovered by Rodriguez at the hosts' five-yard line. Two plays later, with 57 seconds left in the first period, Brady Ludewig plowed in for a three-yard score and a 21-0 advantage.

From there yards and points were harder to come by for both teams. Credit the mud and the defenses.

"The defense played really well. We put our defense in a bad situation a couple times and against a team like Hudson you can't afford to do that," Flaherty said.

The Black Tigers' fourth turnover of the game set up Hudson for a Grant Gonya field goal this one from 25 yards out for a 24-0 lead.

Early in the second half, junior running back Dawson Wervey capped Hudson's drive racing around right end for a six-yard score and a 30-0 lead.

Hudson fourth-string running back Eddie Just raced 35 yards to pay-dirt on a run off left tackle with 10:21 to play for a 37-0 lead. Just ended with 57 yards on seven carries to lead the Explorers.

The Black Tigers wouldn't quit. Jordan Bosley was the workhorse in the first half, gaining 46 yards on 19 carries.

In the second half, Jake Gruic took over running for a game-high 84 yards on 16 carries and helped his squad on a late scoring drive.

Vassalotti (4-10; 24 yards) hit Patrick Horrigan twice for 22 yards to highlight the 55-yard march. Vassalotti capped the drive sneaking in from two yards out with 6:25 to play for the final 37-6 margin.

"I'm proud of our kids -- we didn't quit. They kept playing the whole time," Flaherty noted. "We have a great group of seniors who are leading these guys. There is no quit in this group no matter what happens."

Falls was set to host Nordonia for its homecoming game Oct. 7, but results were not available at press time.

Up next, Falls will travel to Stow-Munroe Falls Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC

Twitter:@MLeonard_RPC


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