Written by Josh Evans of the Adrian Daily Telegram
Late game heroics proved to be the difference in yet another Lenawee County Athletic Association rivalry game between Hudson and Onsted.
Nathan Smith scored a 1-yard touchdown with 50 seconds left in the game to give Hudson a 30-26 and sealed the Tigers’ victory with an interception with 28.7 seconds remaining.
Smith’s clutch play helped Hudson (3-0, 1-0 LCAA) remain unbeaten and end a four-game losing skid to Onsted.
“I knew as soon as I caught it that I could not fumble the ball,” Smith said. “I took a couple steps and seen the defense so I dove on the ground so we could take a knee and win the game.”
Onsted led Hudson 26-23 with 5:42 left in the game. The Tigers started the drive from their own 30-yard line and marched down the field. Drew Milligan and Chris Dickerson combined for 20 yards on the first two plays for Hudson before a botched snap made it third down and five.
Smith ran for an 11-yard gain on first down, but when the Tigers reached the red zone the Onsted defense began to bear down.
Onsted forced the Tigers into a fourth-and-one at the 10-yard line. Chris Robbins had a five-yard run to give Hudson a first and goal at the five.
After a four-yard run by Robbins, Smith followed his center right into the end zone for the game-winning score.
“This was a huge win for us,” Smith said. “That gets us off to a good start in the LCAA and sets up a big game next week (against Blissfield).”
On the ensuing Onsted possession, Steven Spears’ pass attempt sailed high of his intended receiver and Smith was there to make the interception to seal the game.
The victory was the 95th at Hudson for head coach Chris Luma. Luma now stands alone as the all-time wins leader in Hudson football history, passing Tom Saylor’s total of 94 victories.
“I will remember this one,” Luma said. “Not necessarily for making history but for the effort of these kids. We busted our butts every play and the guys made some big plays when we needed them.”
Hudson began the game in ideal fashion. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead as Milligan ran for 37 yards and a touchdown on the opening possession.
Hudson used up nearly half of the first quarter before forcing Onsted into a three and out on its next possession. The Tigers took over on Onsted’s 39-yard line and again began to march down field.
Grant Benschoter capped off a nine play, 61-yard drive with a touchdown from one-yard out, Milligan nailed the extra point to put Hudson ahead 15-0.
“When we got down early there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to come back,” Onsted coach Dan Terryberry said. “We have great competitors and just looking at them on the sideline I knew it would turn into won of those classic type of games.”
The big play capabilities of the Wildcats came out on their next possession that began at their own 16. After a two yard run by David Gentner, Hudson jumped offsides putting the ball at the 23.
Onsted quarterback Steven Spears then ripped off a 77-yard touchdown that was called back to Hudson’s 24 because of a holding call. The Wildcats would not be denied, on the next play Gentner cut the lead to 15-6 with a 24-yard touchdown.
Hudson could not get anything going on its next possession and punted giving Onsted the ball back at its own 42. Spears found Braxton Southwell on two straight passes for 13-yards before Gentner scampered in from 33-yards. Spears connected with Southwell again for the two-point conversion trimming the lead to 15-14 at the half.
The Wildcats grabbed their first lead of the day with 3:28 left in the third quarter. Gentner got a carry off the right side and found no room, he cut back to the left side of the field and took the ball 73 yards down the sideline for the score.
“If anyone doubts the talent of this kid (Gentner) then they are crazy,” Terryberry said. “He made some great cutback moves and we have to give credit to the offensive line for moving guys and creating the holes for our backs.”
Milligan returned the ball to Hudson’s 40 before the Tigers began yet again another methodical scoring drive.
Hudson went 60 yards on 11 plays including a one-yard touchdown run for Spears, Benschoter punched in the two-point conversion to give the Tigers a 23-20 lead.
Onsted again responded with a score of its own. Spears found Southwell on consecutive plays setting up another big play. Gentner ripped off a 41-yard touchdown to regain the lead 26-23 for the Wildcats before the final drive by Hudson.
“I have to say something about Terryberry,” Luma said. “After such a tough loss for his team in a hard fought game he had nothing but praises for our team. He is a real class act.”
Hudson was led by Robbins who had 17 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. Milligan added 18 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown while Smith had nine carries for 35 yards and a pair of scored.
Gentner finished with 210 yards on 15 carries for Onsted while Spears added 73 yards on four carries. Spears also completed 6 of 7 passes for 37 yards and one interception.