By Sean Duffy
Hudson, OH– Week 4 of the 2019 High School Football season is the beginning of the conference play for most teams. Non-conference play is over, and now teams turn their focus to teams to teams of which they are more familiar. Our game of the week features two teams from the Suburban League National Division. The Wadsworth Grizzlies (2-1) are coming off of a tough loss at the hands of Medina in week 3 travel to take on the Hudson Explorers (1-2) who secured their first win of the season in week 3 against Brush. Both teams look to get off to a solid start in the National Division in great Suburban League National Division contest.
Hudson got the ball to start the game and i was clear from the outset that the Explorers were going with a up tempo offensive game plan. Hudson wasted no time driving their opening drive deep into Wadsworth territory. However the Grizzlies defense was able to hold and force a 35 yd field goal from Junior kicker Jake Vidmar. Hudson Jumped out to an 3-0 lead with 8:42 left in the first quarter. Wadsworth’s offense was helped by a superb kickoff return by Sophomore WR Anthony Cirino of 32 yds that set the Grizzlies up on the Hudson 45 yd line. Wadsworth Senior QB Trey Shaffer would connect 3 plays later with junior WR Barret Labus for a 7 yd TD pass, Wadsworth took a 7-3 lead wit 6:10 remaining in the 1st quarter. Both teams settled in defensively forcing punts on each team’s next offensive possessions. As the 1st quarter came to an end, Wadsworth led 7-3, With Hudson threatening deep in Grizzlies territory.
Hudson opened the 2nd quarter with 1 yd TD run by Junior QB Jacob Paltani, Hudson now led 10-7 with 10:51 remaining in the half. Wadsworth would answer on their next possession putting together a 69 yd drive that, capped off by a 31 yd TD Pass from Shaffer to Junior WR Ethan Korecky, Wadsworth now led 14-10 with 6:53 remaining in the half.
Hudson would add another field goal from Vidmar, this time from 33 yds, Wadsworth led 14-13 with 3:52 left in the half. Hudson’s defense was able to force a quick 3 and out for the Grizzlies, and took over on the Wadsworth 49 yd line late in the first half. Hudson would score as time ran out in the half on a 1 yd TD run from QB Jacob Paltani. Hudson led 20-14 as the first half came to a close.
Wadsworth got the ball to start the third quarter and put together a 70 yard drive that drained 6:07 off the game clock. WR Anthony Cirino would score on a 5 yd TD run, Wadsworth now led 21-20 with 5:53 remaining in the quarter.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Hudson QB had the ball snapped over his head and recovered in the end zone by Wadsworth LB Jack Grice, Wadsworth now led 28-20 with 5:35 left in the third quarter. Hudson’s next offensive drive began on their own 30 yd line and the explorers were able to put together a 70 yd scoring drive, capped by a 5 yd td Run by Paltani, Wadsworth now led 28-27 with 4:36 remaining. The Grizzlies were again deep in Hudson territory, but the Hudson Defense forced a turn over on downs as the third quarter came to an end with Wadsworth leading 28-27.
Hudson opened the 4th quarter with a bang, when QB Jacob Paltani hooked up with Junior WR Luke McLaughlin for a 76 yd TD Pass. Hudson jumped out to a 34-28 lead with 11:50 left in the game. Wadsworth would again fail to convert on another 4th down attempt, and the teams would stall out defensively for a majority of the 4th quarter. Wadsworth would find some magic late in the fourth quarter, when Shaffer and Korecky would hook up again this time for a 46 yd TD throw and catch. The Grizzlies held a 35-34 lead with 3:03 remaining.
Hudson would get the ball on their own 47 yard line to start their next drive, but WR Luke Mclaughlin would have his ball punched out and recovered by Wadsworth’s Jack Grice, Wadsworth had the ball with 1:20 remaining. Hudson had two timeouts remaining and were able to force the Grizzlies punt. Hudson would take over on the Wadsworth 40 yd line, with 0:54 left in the game. Hudson would get the ball down to the 36 yd line with just 0:03 remaining. Hudson then turned to Senior kicker Caleb Junko who lined up for a 46 yd field goal and put it right through uprights as time expired. Hudson wins 37-35 in a wild National Division opener.
Wadsworth falls to 2-2 on the season and 0-1 in the Suburban League National Divison. They will look to get back on the winning side things in week 5 as they Travel to take on Nordonia.
The Hudson Explorers improved to 2-2 on the season and 1-0 in the Suburban League National Division. They will look to continue their winning streak in week 5 as they host Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The Player of the game is Senior Kicker Caleb Junko with game winning 46 yd field goal.
Head Coach of the Hudson Explorers Jeff Gough talks about the 37-35 win over the Wadsworth Grizzlies.