It lived up to the hype
Going into the game tonight between #1 ranked Mentor and #2 ranked Hudson, there were many questions floating around as to how good Hudson really was? Can they slow down the Mentor offense? Would they be able to score enough points of their own to have a chance to win? Was the competition they played coming into the game really a good indication of how good they were? Were they really good enough to be atop the computer playoff rankings?
Wonder no more
In a masterful performance from quarterback Mitch Guadagni, the Hudson offense scored, scored again, and kept on scoring. The Explorer defense did enough to slow down the high powered Mentor offense, and guess what? We have a new #1 team in the state of Ohio after Hudson defeated Mentor tonight 41-27 in front of a sellout crowd in Hudson. It was the game of the year in the state of Ohio, between a perennial power in Mentor, and a team in Hudson looking to make a mark and grab the attention of the elite schools around the state.
They are no longer flying under the radar
The game started as if Mentor was ready to play, and Hudson was a bit tight. The Cardinals took the opening kickoff and drove the length of the field, mostly on the ground, in a drive that culminated in a 2 yard touchdown run by Alex Matthews giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead. Then Hudson found a spark that may have woken them up. Sophomore Matt Restivo took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 50 yards, giving the Explorers great field position. However, on their first play from scrimmage, Guadagni wanted it all, and was picked off at the Mentor two yard line by Mike Ballentine. On the Cardinals first play, running back Eddie Daugherty slipped in the end zone, resulting in a safety, resulting in now a 7-2 Cardinals lead. It is here that the Hudson offense finally found their stride. Taking over at the 50 yard line, and using runs by Guadagni of 25 and 16 yards, the Explorers hit paydirt when Guadagni found Will Hogan on bootleg from 12 yards out, and the Explorers had the lead at 9-7. On the second play on Mentor’s next possession, quarterback Jake Floreia was picked of by Mike Piekowski, giving the Explorers good field possession at their own 48 yard line. Guadagni then found his big play receiver, Colton Whited, on a pass along the right sideline. Whited bounced of a tackle and took it to the house from 35 yards out, stretching the lead to 16-7. After a Mentor 3 and out, Hudson struck again. Using a 15 yard run by Guadagni on a 3rd and 9, and another 15 yard run by Guadagni on 3rd and 6, Hudson was able to add a 34 yard field goal by Grant Gonya, giving Hudson a 19-7 lead. It was a wild first quarter
Mentor would fight back. Using a 50 yard pass from Floreia to receiver Scott Blizzard, the Cardinals were able to cash in with a field goal by Tyler Thompson a minute into the second quarter, cutting the lead to 19-10. It was the Mentor defense that stood tall in the second quarter, holding the Hudson offense to just one first down in the first ten minutes. After a Hudson punt, Mentor took over at their own 19 yard line, and put together a nice drive mixing the run and pass. Facing a 4th and 1 from the Hudson 3 yard line, the Cardinals decided to go for it, but fumbled, with Hudson defensive end Grant Elfers recovering at the two yard line. After the Mentor defense stood tall, the Cardinals took over at their own 37 yard line. It was Floreia to Blizzard again, this time for 38 yards, getting the Cardinals back in the Hudson red zone. They had to settle for another Thompson field goal, and Hudson lead was cut to 19-13. The Exploers were able to drive into Mentor territory to end the half, but Guadagni was picked off by the Cardinals Kenny Cook off a tipped ball, and the teams went to halftime with Hudson leading 19-13.
Hudson received the ball to start the second half, and were on the move again into Mentor territory. The drive ended when Guadagni was picked off for the third time on a beautiful play by the Cardinals Marc Walton along the right sideline. It was Hudson’s defense that stepped up and got a three and out, and got their offense the ball back at their own 33 yard line. Hudson would strike again. Facing the blitz, Guadagni found Reid Robinson behind the Mentor defense from 35 yards out for his third touchdown pass of the night, stretching the Explorer lead to 26-13. They had the momentum, and it seemed for a moment to just be Hudson’s night.
But Mentor is like a zombie….they never die
On their second play from scrimmage, Floreia burst through the middle on a zone read, and just kept going until he reached the endzone. The 70 yard run cut the Hudson lead to 26-20. The Mentor defense then held, and Mentor took over on their own 43 yard line, with a chance, amazingly, to take the lead. Unfortunately for them, it only took one play to give the ball back, as Hudson defensive tackle Roman Moreno recovered a Cardinal fumble, setting the Explorers up at the Mentor 40 yard line. Hudson did not let this opportunity go to waste. In maybe his best play of the night Guadagni was about to get sacked, and with a Mentor defender draped all over him, was able to throe a pass over the middle to a wide open Hogan. The result was a 24 yard touchdown pass, and the Explorers extended their lead to 32-20 entering the fourth quarter.
Just as it looked like Mentor was dead….
The zombie part of Mentor returned again. Floreia’s running and passing led them to the Hudson 6 yard line, where Floreia ran it in from there, cutting the Hudson lead to 32-27. Again, the Mentor defense held, and the Cardinals took over on their own 18 yard line with a chance to take the lead. The Hudson defense would step up and sack Floreia on third down, forcing a punt, and the Explorers took over on their own 42 yard line.
Good teams put together drives to end games….and Hudson showed their worth on their next drive
The Explorers got back to basics and ran the ball, and ran the ball, and ran the ball. Joe Charpentier put together runs of 15 and 21 yards, getting the ball to the Mentor 11 yard line. In maybe the best play call of the night, Guadagni found Charpentier on a beautifully executed screen pass. Charpentier took it into the endzone, and with 5:30 left in the game, Hudson took a 38-27 lead. No need to celebrate just yet. Mentor can score with the best of them, and might even be more dangerous when they are in “ultra-hurry up” mode. After an initial first down, the Hudson defense held Mentor on downs, and the Explorers took over on the Mentor 35 yard line.
Facing a third and 8 with just over three minutes remaining, Guadagni and Robinson connected on the play of the night. Guadagni fit a ball down the left sideline, just in between the corner and the safety of Mentor’s “Cover 2” defense. Robinson leaped and made an over-the-shoulder catch, getting the one foot needed to get inbounds. It lead to another Gonya field goal, this time form 30 yards out, stretching the lead to 41-27.
Finally, the Explorers could exhale
It feels real good to beat a quality opponent. Not that the other teams we beat weren’t quality opponents, but this is Mentor. As Triv (Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno) said after the game, we may be seeing them again in the playoffs….Hudson Head Coach Ron Wright
Hudson put together a team effort tonight. Guadagni was sensational with five touchdown passes, over 200 yards passing, and over 150 rushing. Charpentier gave the Explorers balance on the ground, and Whited and Robinson proved they were big time receivers. The defense seemed to confuse the Mentor offense at times, and got the stops they needed, when they needed them. Yep, they looked like the state’s top ranked team.
October 23, 2014 officially put Hudson football On The Map
Anybody up for Round 2 between these two teams? For sure