LAND O’LAKES — Hudson held James Pensyl to 131 yards passing and kept the high-powered Land O’Lakes offense out of the end zone. But the Cobras could not do anything about Shaheed Salmon.
The 6-2, 215-pound senior took the game into his large hands, scoring the only touchdown on a 32-yard interception return as Land O’Lakes held off the Cobras 16-0 Friday to stay undefeated.
“Those guys were coming at us from all over. It was like they had guys coming off the sidelines,” said Hudson coach Mark Kantor. “I think No. 7 (Salmon) and No. 45 (Jo Von Parrish) must have oxygen packs in their helmets.”
Parrish ended one of two Hudson second-half threats with a sack, and Andy Dowler was clutch on a pair of 39-yard field goals in the fourth quarter.
Salmon, who nearly picked off a Hudson shovel pass on the game’s third play, did not miss the next opportunity. He plowed through the line and grabbed the attempted pitch by Joey Caruso, hightailing his team to a 10-0 lead with 8:13 in the second quarter.
Later Salmon was part of a critical goal-line stand. Land O’Lakes (6-0) couldn’t handle the second-half kickoff and Hudson’s Justin Meredith recovered at the 38. The Cobras (4-2) then got a key fourth-down catch by Patrick Roulette and were inside the 10.
But then Salmon made two big plays, first tackling Noah Siegrist for a 3-yard loss. Then on third and goal when it looked like Hudson had a perfect screen play, Salmon fought off a block to bring down Ben Cosh at the 2. Hudson tried a straight dive on fourth down, but Siegrist (17 carries, 45 yards) was met by several Gators for no gain.
“We get overshadowed by our offense, but I like that. Makes us work harder,” Salmon said. The Gators were scoring 33 points a game with Pensyl averaging about 250 passing yards.
Kantor’s game plan was to make the Gators run the ball, and they struggled until Larenz Scroggins broke loose for a 45-yard run in the fourth quarter. He finished with 97 yards on 16 carries.
“I will take a win any way we can get it,” said Gators head coach Brian Wachtel.
Hudson (4-2) was held to only 142 yards but the Cobras defense kept them in it . LOL charged down to the 10-yard line before Scott Carley tackled Pensyl on a promising run play and Aleck Rosemond sacked Pensyl on the next play. Dowler hit the first of his three field goals, a 26-yarder for a 3-0 lead.
Brandon Erwin and Dylan Crowder combined for a sack to stall a later drive.