by Dakota Antelman
A Hudson football player slapped his hands against his pads and screamed, “It’s over!” as quarterback Corey Clemons trotted to the sideline after throwing an interception late in Friday’s 14-6 loss to Nipmuc.
Moments later, it was over. The Warriors, who entered the game ranked ninth in Central Massachusetts by the Worcester Telegram, avoided an upset loss on the road that Hudson nearly executed.
“We played great,” Clemons said. “We fought [throughout] the whole game. But, just at the end, we made a few little mistakes. We’ve just got to get better next week.”
Hudson started the game by marching down the field and scoring on an Andrew Di Battista touchdown on their first possession of the game. Though the Hawks failed to score on their two-point conversion attempt, they followed that drive up by shutting down the Nipmuc offense for the remainder of the first quarter.
The Warriors broke through in the second quarter when George Morrice ran in an 8-yard touchdown. They then took the lead on a successful extra point kick.
After trading punts with Hudson for most of the second half, Nipmuc got its next break when they pinned Hudson against their own goal line with less than four minutes left in the game. With Hudson trailing 7-6 at the time, the Warriors intercepted Clemons’ pass and sent their offense to work deep in Hudson territory.
Nipmuc coaches soon put the ball back in the hands of Morrice, who solidified the Warrior lead with a 24-yard touchdown run with 2:21 remaining in the game.
A week after the Hawks beat Clinton on the road to notch their first win of the season, head coach Dan McAnespie noted the successes and failures of his offense that ran through both games.
“I think our offense clicked better in the Clinton and in this game at times [than it did earlier in the season],” he said. “But, at times, it totally just couldn’t do it.”
Looking back on the game, both he and Clemons saw opportunities where Hudson could have changed the contest’s outcome.
Primarily, the Hawks got within at least 20 yards of the Nipmuc end zone twice after their first touchdown. Snapping issues marred both drives, however, as high snaps either left Clemons with little time to pass, or sent him scrambling to retrieve the ball as it bounced yards behind him.
Likewise, at least one major penalty stymied Hudson’s final attempt at a comeback after Nipmuc’s second touchdown. Officials assessed Di Battista a 15-yard penalty midway through the drive. The penalty pushed the Hawks back towards their goal line and quickly snuffed out Hudson’s hopes of the first down they needed to extend the drive.
“We both were able to move the ball, but then we stalled and we did dumb things like snaps over the head, the penalty [and a] third and three where we have it but then we don’t have it because we’re running backward,” McAnespie said.
The Hawks now head back on the road to face Maynard next week. Both McAnespie and Clemons noted that their team has work to do in practice this week to improve before that game. Shortly, before walking off the field, however, Clemons said he was proud of what his team put forth despite being one of many Hawks disappointed by the outcome of the game.
“We could run all over them,” he said. “We made good blocks. We ran hard. They thought they were coming to blow us out, but we gave them a fight. The end wasn’t what we wanted, but we came out, punched them in the mouth, and fought.”