Hudson revels in opportunity to improve

HUDSON – The last time the Hudson Cobras won a playoff game, some players on the team hadn’t even been born yet.

The head coach then was Mark Nash. The quarterback was Kyle Hatcher and some other familiar names were Vince Ferlita, Robert Allen, Allen Wynn, Royce Simonds and Brian Zullo.

Now helming the Cobras is Coach Tim Hicks. New names jumped out last season, as well, like AJ Blanton, Hunter Young and Ladamien Starks.

One of those players, Blanton, will not be back after transferring to Gulf High School. The Cobras defeated Space Coast 27-20 in marking the school’s first playoff win since 2005 and Hudson is hungry for more success.

“It was important for our kids,” Hicks said. “Hudson has a very rich football tradition, but as far as I know that was our first road playoff win in school history. I believe our kids will use that win as motivation moving into the new season.”

One building block the Cobras can rely upon is Young, who was the team’s starting quarterback from last fall. Young completed 62-of-141 passes for 754 yards and nine touchdowns. He also added 145 yards on the ground and he will be counted on to do a lot more for Hudson’s offense. This spring is a time to fine tune what the Cobras will do schematically.

“This will be Hunter's third year as a varsity quarterback so I am expecting him to make a big leap,” Hicks said. “He has all the physical tools and can make any throw. This season we will expect more from him as far as getting us in the right situation pre-snap, and I expect his decision-making skills to improve. If he has a strong off-season, he should be one of the better quarterbacks in our area.”

Losing Blanton was a big loss, as the tailback rushed for 728 yards and was a huge part of Hudson’s offense in 2020. The Cobras will have of stable of runners to choose from, with Young, Stark and Bryan Lindsey all going to have their opportunities in the backfield.

“Bryan Lindsay will be the young man that will carry much of the load at running back,” Hicks added. “Bryan has over 1,000 career rushing yards for us, and he is a weapon out of the backfield, so I expect a lot from him. Running back happens to be one of the positions that we are very deep at so Tanner Testori, Logan Shawel, Kaiden Brown, Felix Penalver, Travis Clark, and a few other players should also contribute to our running game."

Spring game: River Ridge at Hudson, May 20

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.