November 23, 2010

A chance to settle an old score: Hudson to face Ishpeming in finals

BALL CARRIER James Herron gains yardage with the help of Gabe Lee (#72) at the semi-finals game on Saturday. The tigers won the game 52-6 against Warren Collegiate and proceed onto the finals against Ishpeming. All football photos by Brittney Luma

The long-desired and much-anticipated rematch between Hudson and Ishpeming will take place on Saturday at Ford Field with a Division 7 state championship on the line. It was 35 years ago the Hematites defeated Hudson 38-22 in the first ever MHSAA state playoffs. The class C crown went to the Upper Peninsula school and the two foes have not crossed paths since, but they will meet at 10:00 Saturday morning. “You could just sense this game coming when the playoff pairings were announced,” said long-time Tiger football enthusiast Jim Bills. “This is such a special moment to be able to play Ishpeming again and this time for another chance at a state title.”

Hudson (13-0) advanced with a pedestrian 52-6 thumping of an over-whelmed bunch of Cougars from Warren Michigan Collegiate. Ishpeming (12-0) had to do it the hard way escaping with a crucial 22-20 win over Ravenna. The Bulldogs tried a 23-yard field goal with eight seconds left and the kick just missed sending Ishpeming south to Ford Field.

The Tiger win came at Gibraltar Carlson H.S. and the Hematites got their win at Traverse city in the other semifinal.

Ishpeming also won a state championship in 1979 beating Watervliet 13-0 but the Hematites have not been back to play in a final game in the past 31 years. Hudson is 0-3 in state final contests with the Ishpeming loss in 1975 and a pair of setbacks to Traverse City St. Francis in 2003 and last year.

Ishpeming has what one writer in Muskegon calls a “three-headed monster” in reference to superb players at quarterback, fullback and wide receiver. This will definitely be for “Danny’s D” its toughest test of the season. The Hudson defense has allowed six points in four playoff games with the special teams allowing the WMC kickoff return. Ishpeming has scored 164 points in four playoff games but they have not faced a defense like Danny’s D so this should be quite a game. Hudson has scored 499 points and needs 22 to set the all-time scoring record as the 2009 team posted 520 points.

With a Tiger team determined to take care of unfinished business from a visit to Ford Field last year it should make for a great game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. Tickets are $10 per person and are good for all four games on that date. Parking is $6 at Ford Field and prices may vary at other local lots. Don’t miss the game that is being billed as the most talked about rematch in MHSAA playoff football history. Get on out to the game and be a part of current history as the Tigers take care of the Hematites. The win would be the first ever MHSAA state football crown for Hudson! Go Tigers!