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Hudson shares 1st title

It has been a long wait for the Hudson Middle School football team. Fourteen years to be exact.

On Tuesday, the Cobras defeated Seven Springs 28-8 for a share of the Pasco County Middle School Athletic Conference championship.

"It worked out real well," Hudson athletic director Joe Wajerski said. "Of course, it's good for us since this is the first time that Hudson's ever been up there."

Hudson and Weightman each finished 5-1 to share the title. River Ridge (4-2) could have made it a three-way split, but the Royal Knights lost Tuesday to Pasco 13-6.

"The kids played pretty well and had a good season," River Ridge coach Ernie Beck said. "We had it in our hands and we just couldn't do it."

The co-championships marked the second second straight season the league title has not been won outright. Pine View, River Ridge and Weightman shared last year's crown.

Weightman, which closed out the season with a 16-12 defeat of Stewart, has three championships and a share of two others in its seven-year history.

"We use that tradition as a carrot," Wildcats coach Tom McHugh said. "It's kind of like if you went to Notre Dame. That's the way it is and that's the way it'll always be."

Hudson coach Tony Qualtiere was proud of the way his team came through after star tailback Jeremy Stamper broke his collarbone in last week's 36-6 loss to Weightman.

John Bethel, who spelled Stamper at times in previous games, ran for a touchdown against Seven Springs. Fullback Robert Sullivan chipped in with a pair of touchdowns and Sullivan's backup, Mike Jones, ran for another. With Hudson holding a commanding lead in the fourth quarter, Chris Gabriel came up with an interception to seal the victory.

"From the time that Jeremy got hurt I told the boys, "You know, sometimes God gives you an obstacle and he wants to see what kind of character you've got,' and they did it," Qualtiere said. "The execution (Tuesday) night showed up."

Mike Witfoth ran into the end zone from 6 yards out for River Ridge's only score. The defense, led by cornerback Hunter Jones, end Nick Overbeck and nose guard Christian Jensen, kept the Knights in the game, but the offense never came up with another score.

James Day and Tyrone Tomlin each ran for a touchdown in Weightman's win.