MANSFIELD – Hudson refused to roll over.
The fourth-seeded Hawks went into halftime down 27-0. Hudson’s three-touchdown deficit carried well into the third quarter; the team trailed 33-7 with just over 18 minutes remaining in the game.
While Hudson would eventually lose to the eighth-seeded Fairhaven Blue Devils, ending the Hawks’ hope to reach the MIAA Division 6 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium, community members couldn’t help but be proud of the squad’s effort. After a disappointing start, Hudson battled back in the game’s waning minutes, coming within three points of tying Fairhaven.
Hudson’s 40-37 loss at Mansfield High School sent a message: the Hawks don’t quit.
“It says a lot about my players – the heart they have,” first-year Hudson Head Coach Zac Attaway said after the game. “There’s no quit in these guys, and I think everyone witnessed the type of heart this team has. They could’ve lied down, we could’ve wrapped it up, and we could’ve gotten on the bus after the first half the way things looked.”
“These guys fought – they battled,” he added. “I couldn’t be prouder of these guys for what they just did.”
The Blue Devils’ 33-7 lead was trimmed to 33-14 after Jake Attaway’s touchdown run. Garrett Giorgio then intercepted Fairhaven, leading to another Jake Attaway touchdown run to bring Hudson within 12 points. Fairhaven responded with a clock-eating touchdown drive to make the game 40-21.
Trailing by 19 points with just 3:03 to play, Hudson could’ve given up again, but they kept pushing. The Hawks put together a 30-second-long drive that ended with Hudson scoring another touchdown to narrow the gap to 40-29. Fairhaven fumbled while trying to run the clock, and Hudson drove down the field. The Hawks scored with nine seconds remaining to make the game 40-37.
It was time for an onside kick – and Fairhaven would recover. After trailing by 27 at halftime, the Hawks were one awkward onside-kick bounce away from having an opportunity to win the game.
“We have fighters, we don’t have quitters. I knew when we went into halftime, the first six minutes was going to be ‘are we in a ballgame, or are we not in a ballgame?’ They came out, they were firing around. It was like it was a 0-0 ballgame, and that’s how we tell them to play all the time,” said Zac Attaway.
After being eliminated from championship contention, Hudson’s focus now shifts to the 121st annual Thanksgiving Day football game against Marlborough. The Hawks will have a short week to prepare for the Marlborough Panthers, but Attaway stressed the importance of the rivalry.
“We’re [going to] jump back on the film, we’ll get the players in the weight room tomorrow morning, and it’s back to game-planning and getting ready for Marlborough. This is the biggest game for the community of Hudson. We’ve gotta go get [this] one.”