Eau Claire North was not intimidated coming out against state power Hudson.
In fact, the winless Huskies drove to a first-quarter touchdown to surprise the heavily-favored Raiders and tie the game.
But unbeaten Hudson had too many horses and went on to a 49-7 Big Rivers Conference win Friday night at Carson Park.
“Our kids came out and competed tonight,” North coach Andy Jarzynski said. “I saw fear in their eyes when we played Logan earlier. Tonight there was no fear.”
While it might have been a season highlight for North, it was just another overpowering win for the Raiders, who share the conference lead with Rice Lake.
“We were slow out of the gates,” Hudson coach Adam Kowles said. “You have to get out of the bus and play every week in this conference.”
But he also had praise for North.
“North worked hard and played with energy,” Kowles said. “The game was a lot closer than the scoreboard showed.”
Powered by quarterback Keyser Helterbrand, the Raiders answered North’s early score with six touchdowns, making it 28-7 at the half and forcing a running clock with two more scores midway through the third period.
“Hudson is a well-coached team, by one of the best in the state,” Jarzynski said. “They have a first class program, something we want to build up in the future.”
Hudson scored in four plays on its first possession with Helterbrand’s 38-yard pass to Ben Karls putting the ball at the 1. Cole Danielson ran it over on the next play.
But the rout was not on just yet.
The Huskies got the ball and drove 77 yards in 13 plays with sophomore Kyle Greenlund running it over from the 2 with 3:32 left in the first quarter. Carter Duerkop’s kick tied the game.
The biggest gainers were Greenlund’s 21-yard run and quarterback Bennett Mayer’s 11-yard toss to Noah Dilley.
“We went at it two or three yards at a crack and kept the clock running,” Jarzynski said. “I was pleased how hard the running backs hit the holes.”
It was a wakeup call for the Raiders, who scored in three plays and were off to the races. Serge Lewis had a 35-yard run, Danielson followed with a 21-yarder and Hunter Luetkens took it over from the 6.
In the second quarter, Danielson scored from the 5 and Helterbrand hit Karls on a 5-yard toss to make it 28-7 at halftime with basic football.
“We simplified our offensive package,” Kowles said.
In the third period, Helterbrand used his legs, running over from 21 and 5 yards out and Owen Anderson’s 5-yard run closed the scoring in the fourth period.
Hudson piled up 408 yards with a well-balanced attack while Huskies totaled 181 with 137 coming on the ground and most of that in the first half.
Danielson led the Raiders with 76 yards rushing but had good support. Helterbrand threw for 127 yards with Karls taking four for 81.
North got 38 yards from Ray Davis, 29 from Barby and 26 from Greenlund. Mayer hit on five of seven passes for 44 yards.
“I was floored by the effort the kids put forth,” Jarzynski said. “Now we’ve got to build on that.”