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Sunday

April 2014

20

Football

Football game a clash of styles

Running Hudson and passing Arrowhead clash

The two teams couldn't be more different. Arrowhead and Hudson are essentially polar opposites - with a couple exceptions. Both are undefeated, and both will be looking for a berth in the WIAA Division 1 state championship game in Saturday's clash of titans.

Hudson (11-0) is about as far north and west in the state of Wisconsin as any city can get. Arrowhead (11-0), on the other hand is about as far southeast as you can get.

On the football field, it's the same as the map. The No. 1 ranked Warhawks spread things out, never huddle and love to throw the football. AHS has piled up 2,761 yards passing this year, scoring 30 times through the air.

Hudson, ranked sixth, lives and dies with its running game. The Raiders, champions of the Big Rivers Conference this season, have 3,285 yards on the ground with 46 touchdowns. Hudson has completed just 26 of 62 passes (41.9 percent) on the year. They've thrown just six touchdown passes all season.

So, what's going to happen Saturday when the two powerhouses clash in a state semifinal playoff game at D.C. Everest? Will it be the aggressive Arrowhead passing game that prevails or the grind-it-out ground game of Hudson?

Stay tuned. It should be a lot of fun come Saturday afternoon.

The winner of the Arrowhead-Hudson game will advance to the state championship game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. That winner will play the winner of the Sun Prairie-Lake Geneva Badger game, which will be played at 7 p.m. Friday at Arrowhead.

Giving ground

Obviously, the big key for the Warhawks will be whether or not they can stop the potent rushing game of the Raiders. Hudson averages 6.9 yards per rush this season.

The top threat in the Hudson backfield is DanLoughney. He's rushed for 1,644 yards and has 21 touchdowns. Loughney averages 5.9 yards per attempt.

Quarterback Michael Hommes has 10 rushing touchdowns on the year and averages 6.2 yards per carry. Joe Kelly is the third threat, averaging 6.1 yards per attempt.

"Hudson is a very big and physical football team," said second year Arrowhead coach Greg Malling. "We played some big teams this year, but I don't think any of them have the size that Hudson has."

Offensively, the Raiders average 38.2 points per game and defensively they allow an even 10 points per contest. In three playoff games, Hudson has outscored Eau Claire Memorial, Bay Port and previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Appleton North by a 117-35 margin.

Defensively, the trio of tackles Alex Burgess and Jared Johnson and linebacker Ethan Stanchik have combined for an impressive total of 16 sacks.

Air raid

The Raiders will face the unenviable task of trying to stop or slow down the explosive Arrowhead passing attack.

The Warhawks are as good a passing team as any in the state. Senior Brady Kelliher has completed 67.9 percent of his passes, good for 18 touchdowns. He has five interceptions on the season. His favorite targets are the Finco brothers, Kenny and Ricky, Brandon Kim and Dom Todarello.

However, Arrowhead can also run the ball. The Warhawks have rushed for 1,954 yards and average 6.7 yards per attempt.

But there's more to the Arrowhead attack than just offense (46 points per game). First-year defensive coordinator Dave Pfeiffer's squad has been stellar since the first half of the season-opener when Minnetonka put 21 points on the scoreboard. Since that first half of the opener, the first team defense has allowed an amazing total of 20 points.

"Our only goal all season has been to keep practicing for another week," Malling said. "The longer we can stay on the practice field, thelonger the season goes. We're very happy to be practicing again this week. The longer we can stay together, the more fun it's going to be for all of the players and all of the coaches."

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