Collision Course: Whiteford, Hudson matchup finally here

By DOUG DONNELLY

It took about eight weeks, but the matchup that has had football fans in southeast Michigan talking about for weeks is less than a week away.

Whiteford beat Clarkston Everest Collegiate 38-12 Saturday to cement its spot in the Division 8 semifinal next weekend. Hudson did its part by beating White Pigeon, 8-0, in a defensive battle Friday night. Now, the 11-1 Bobcats and 12-0 Tigers will meet for the right to play at Ford Field in the Division 8 state championship game.

The game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Adrian College.

Hudson is ranked No. 1 in Division 8, and has been all season. Whiteford is ranked No. 2 in Division 8. Both teams are league champions – Hudson won the LCAA and the Bobcats went undefeated in TCC action. Both teams have district and regional trophies already in their showcase.

“We are excited for the opportunity to play them and to play for a chance to go to Ford Field,” Whiteford head coach Jason Mensing said.

Whiteford’s defense has improved tremendously over the last several weeks. The Bobcats have two shutouts in its last four games, held high-scoring Sand Creek to just 14 points and limited an Everest Collegiate team that was averaging more than 43 points a game to two touchdown drives – its first two of the game, in fact.

“We made a few adjustments,” Mensing said of the defense. “We saw some things. We had been going with two different fronts and we switched up. The kids did a good job.”

Hudson is built around its intense, fly-to-the-ball defense, led by senior Payton Rogers. The Tigers have allowed just 70 points all season. The White Pigeon game was their seventh shutout.

The Tiger offense averages 32.8 points a game. Nick Kopin leads the Hudson rushers with 1,397 yards and 17 touchdowns. Brendan Akers has rushed for 856 yards and Bronson Marry 509 yards. Quarterback Anthony Arredondo is 25-for-42 passing for 372 yards this season. Ambrose Horwath is the go-to receiver, with 19 receptions for 308 yards and five touchdown receptions.

This Bobcat team averages 50.5 points a game. Five Bobcats have rushed for at least 400 yards, including Cole Giesige, who has 1,241 yards on the ground and more than 1,900 all-purpose yards. Bobcat quarterback Shea Ruddy, who has made 30 career starts, has thrown for 1,184 yards and 15 touchdowns while running for 659 yards and eight touchdowns.

Sophomore middle linebacker Jake Iott leads the Bobcat defense with 97 tackles. Noah Bauman has 13 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries. Hunter DeBarr, who had two key interceptions in Saturday’s win over Everest Collegiate, leads the team with three interceptions.

Whiteford and Hudson have never met, but both have storied programs.

The Tigers made headlines nationally in the 1970s, winning 72 consecutive games, drawing tremendous crowds and a national audience as the streak grew. Sports Illustrated was among those to do features on Hudson. The most recent state title for the Tigers came in 2010 when Hudson won the Division 7 state title. They lost in the semifinals in 2011.

Whiteford is in the semifinals for the fourth time in the past seven years under Mensing.

The Bobcats lost in the semis to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in 2015 but won semifinal games in 2016 and 2017. The 2017 Bobcats won the Class D state championship.

Whiteford is in the semifinals for the fourth time in the past seven years under Mensing.

The Bobcats lost in the semis to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in 2015 but won semifinal games in 2016 and 2017. The 2017 Bobcats won the Class D state championship.

One comment

  1. I look forward to your articles weekly. Actually I search daily sometimes! 🙂 We are huge Bobcat fans. Especially, football. I graduated from Whiteford in 1965 and have had a husband, brother, 2 sons and now 2 grandsons (Iott twins) on the team. It’s been my home field for 60 years (since I was 14). Go Bobcats!!

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