By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing Writer
HUDSON – It’s been a long time since there was this kind of buzz around the Hudson football program.
Though Oakmont snapped their unbeaten streak on Oct. 8, the Hawks had won their first four games of this season. This has been Hudson’s best start since 2015. When MIAA power rankings, which help decide who makes playoffs in the state’s new playoff format, came out last week, the Hawks stood alone as the best team in the state’s Division 5.
Though he was thrilled with the season to date, head coach Dan McAnespie said in an interview last week that he was still also making sure his team is focused on the day-to-day process of their season.
“They’re tough,” he said of Oakmont prior to that game. “Our kids know week-to-week we’re going to be in a battle. We’ve got an eight-game schedule and we won’t be taking any of them lightly.”
“They’ve been close and that’s what’s been the best part about it because our guys are learning how to win close games,” McAnespie said of this year’s victories.
Hudson’s coaching staff has, throughout its season, focused on self-assessment after each of their games.
“We do one at the end of every week,” said McAnespie. “In high school football, there’s a lot of kids that we call ‘October Players,’ so they’re not quite ready to go Week 1, but as they start to get the skills and into the routine of practice, they’re ready to help us in October.
“That’s what we’re looking at right now,” he continued. “Where are the kids who haven’t had a big role or they’ve been playing well on JV or with scout team? We’re looking to see who we can add to the lineup.”
While the staff is looking for those “diamonds in the rough,” the starters have been holding up just fine for the Hawks.
Marcus Bass has been Hudson’s star receiver while running back Quinn O’Brien has carried the rock for the Hawks behind a strong O-line led by Arthur Jardim, who also plays on the defensive line.
All three of those players are seniors and captains for Hudson alongside junior tight end and outside linebacker Caleb Luz.
Through all this, the football team has seen an increasing number of fans turn out to games.
“Our support has always been awesome,” McAnespie said. “I’ve always had great support here. There’s never been a time where I’ve felt our support system has wavered, even when we were like 2-9. Everyone knows football has its peaks and valleys. In 2010, 2011 even up to 2015, we were peaking and recently, the numbers haven’t been high. Now they’re back up and the student body has been showing up.”