HUDSON, OH- Beautiful Hudson Memorial Stadium was the site for the OHSAA playoff football second round matchup in Division 2 - Region 5 as the #6 Walsh Jesuit Warriors took on the host #3 Hudson Explorers. Walsh came in at 9-2 after their first round win over Maple Heights while the Explorers stayed perfect at 11-0 shutting out Solon 31-0 last Friday.
The opening kickoff to Hudson resulted in a touchback putting the ball at their 20 yard line to begin the game. From there they were able to take it 8 plays down to the Warriors 29 yard line on all running plays. After a Jagger Pallay incomplete pass on 2nd and 8, he launched a pass into the end zone that was picked off by John Keough for Walsh resulting in a touchback.
On the second play of the Warrior drive QB Ryan Kerscher was sacked by Explorers DE Lucas Offredo for a 6 yard loss setting up a 3rd & 14 from their own 16 yard line. Kerscher hit WR Quintin Walton for a 51 yard gain. But after two Kerscher runs of 8 & 4 yards the drive stalled and Walsh was forced to attempt a field goal that was blocked by Hudson forcing a turnover on downs at the Explorers 21 yard line.
The Explorers rushing machine kicked it into gear on a 14 play - 79 yard drive that ended with an Ian Ludewig 1 yard touchdown run for the first score of the game. Ludewig accounted for 58 of those yards. The PAT was no good and Hudson lead 6-0 with 2:07 to play in the first quarter.
That would end the scoring for a bit as each team punted on their next two possessions before Walsh was able to put together a scoring drive. They went 54 yards in 8 plays with Kerscher and Walton hooking up again on a big play that went for 30 yards down to the Hudson 1 yard line. From there RB Justin Bremner took it in for the touchdown. PAT was good giving Walsh a 7-6 lead.
Hudson would come back on their next drive before the half and get in the end zone. After Jagger Pallay converted a 4th & 2 with a 4 yard run, they were called for holding pushing them back 10 yards to the Walsh 26 yard line. Pallay took a keeper to the house on the next play for his first touchdown of the game. The successful PAT gave Hudson a 13-7 lead with 50 seconds to play.
Walsh tried to at least get in field goal range before the half but Hudson senior LB Henry Caspar sacked Kerscher and the first half clock expired.
The second half would be all Hudson.
Walsh got some momentum to open the 2nd half as Aiden Henry took the kick return back 48 yards into Explorer territory at the 29 yard line. Unfortunately for the Warriors they were not able to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs at the Hudson 24 yard line.
The Walsh defense would step up big though holding Hudson to a punt until disaster struck when the Warriors were flagged for roughing the punter giving the Explorers new life. They took full advantage as Pallay and Ludewig moved them down to the Walsh 3 yard line where Ludewig scored his second touchdown of the game. The PAT made it a 20-7 game with 5:57 left to play in the 3rd quarter.
After holding Walsh to a 3 and out, Hudson again would put together a scoring drive aided by a big pass interference penalty on 3rd and 17 that gave them new life once again. They again capitalized and Jagger Pallay ran in another keeper this time from 18 yards out. PAT was good and Hudson took control 27-7 with 10:31 to play in the game.
After holding the Warriors to a turnover on downs, Jagger Pallay ran the first play 68 yards and was taken down at the Walsh 1 yard line. From there Ludewig would score his 3rd touchdown of the game putting the game on ice with the PAT making it a 34-7 lead with 8:22 to play.
Walsh was unable to score from there on out and Hudson ran out the clock on their last possession to clinch the round 2 victory and setup and date with Painesville Riverside next week at a neutral site TBD.
After a close knit first half, Hudson was able to shut out Walsh in the second half while putting up 21 unanswered points to move to 12-0.
Ryan Kerscher: 12/29, 190 yards
Justin Bremner: 10 rush, 36 yards, TD
Qunitin Walton: 3 rec, 89 yards
Jagger Pallay: 23 rush, 238 yards, 2 TD
Ian Ludewig: 33 rush, 192 yards, 3 TD
After nearly being trampled by the Hudson student section, I was able to make my way down to the field for interviews with QB Jagger Pallay, RB Ian Ludewig & head coach Jeff Gough.
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