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Redhawks battles top ranked Hudson in 21-24 loss

September 21, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor (cjeilers@traerstarclipper.com) , Traer Star-Clipper

The North Tama Redhawks celebrated Homecoming last week as they hosted Hudson, the top ranked football team in Class A on Friday, Sept. 14 in a battle that lasted past regulation and into a tense overtime, with the Redhawks taking a tough loss 21-24.

"We came up with some big plays defensively, but we made some mistakes with our pass coverage that really cost us," coach Tom McDermott said. "We tried to sharpen that up a little bit, but Hudson is one heck of a team. Number 29 at back for them is tremendous and their quarterback is outstanding. Our line is good, but we couldn't get to that quarterback."

The Pirates drew first blood late in the first quarter, but were unable to complete a two point conversion and ended the first quarter with a delicate 6-0 lead. While it would take some time for the North Tama offense to find a rhythm, thanks in part to bad field position, a turnover on downs allowed the Redhawks to take over on their 49 and punch in their first touchdown courtesy of a nine yard rush by Tyler Morrison and kick by Hale Hulme. The Redhawks stuck to the run early, while Pirates were able to establish their game in the air throughout, scoring a touchdown with 18.8 seconds left in the second half to go up 13-7 before halftime.

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Homecoming King Tyler Morrison ran for 175 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns to keep North Tama in the game despite finding themselves down at critical moments.

"We emphasized who we wanted to run at and we felt if we were more consistent earlier, we would have been moving the ball too," McDermott said. "We didn't make any major changes for this game other than screening for our passing game and we broke that two or three times."

Plenty of fight was left in the Redhawks for a Homecoming win against the top ranked Pirates as Morrison punched in a 17-yard touchdown run with six minutes left in the quarter to take a narrow 14-13 lead. That lead quickly evaporated as Hudson threw for a 65-yard touchdown and two-point conversion to get up 21-14, but much like how Hudson played spoiler in the second quarter, the Redhawks made their way down field thanks to a costly Pirates penalty and scored with a 17-yard Hulme touchdown and good kick to tie it up.

"When things went wrong, we bounced back like we've done all season long, especially last week's game," McDermott said. "We just had some critical mistakes at critical times we have to fix to get where we can be."

The fourth quarter saw no change in score, but plenty of action as the Pirates came close on several occasions of scoring a winning play. As Hudson inched closer to the red zone, an interception by Noah Bond got the ball back to the North Tama 33 yard line with under seven minutes to go. A long drive would have given the Redhawks momentum, but Hudson recovered a Morrison fumble and were back on offense. After being as close as the two-yard line, a false start pushed Hudson back five yards and the Pirates sent out their field goal unit A fake kick turned against the Pirates as they were stopped on the one yard line and gave the ball back on downs.

With the ball back again, the Redhawks didn't take any chances, continuing to run the ball. Another fumble was called by the refs against Morrison, a controversial call as the North Tama coaching staff claimed Morrison's knee was already down, ending the play. With 40 seconds left, the Redhawk defense tightened up and forced a field goal out of Hudson. A timely block by North Tama sent the game into overtime.

"This happens," McDermott said. "That last fumble call was questionable the way they called it, but I told our guys we'd have a chance in overtime and it worked that way. We just couldn't quite punch it in. Tyler Morrison is our ball carrier and we are going to go with him."

Hudson buckled down in overtime as North Tama struggled with their run game. The Redhawks came within inches of scoring, but a fourth down pass to the end zone just missed the hands of Cael Even.

"We played for the win and that's what I wanted to do," McDermott said. "I asked the kids and they said 'lets win.' We knew they had a good kicker and we felt we had a pass play we could get open, but it didn't pan out like we hoped it would."

Morrison led the way for the Redhawk offense with 175 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns, with Hulme scoring the third and final touchdown and rushing for 62 yards on 11 carries. On defense, Luke Pennell led with 9.5 tackles, followed by Skyler Staker with nine tackles and Zach Greiner with 7.5 tackles.

"We're going to go back to what we've said all along: one game at a time," McDermott said. "This one is over. We just played the number one team in the state even until overtime. It didn't turn out like we wanted. We have to build on that. We're going to play other great football teams and give it everything we have."

The Redhawks will next travel to Winthrop on Friday, Sept. 21 to take on East Buchanan in another district battle that could spell out playoff hopes for either team.

 
 

 

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