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Mitchell capitalizes on "flat half'

Hudson coach Mark Nash was worried his team would still be riding the euphoria over last week's win over Pasco and start looking ahead to next week's district game against Wesley Chapel.

Nash's nightmare came true. The Cobras came out lethargic in the first half against Mitchell.

The Mustangs made them pay for it.

Led by the running of Spencer Brown, the throwing of Chris Watts and the receiving of D.J. Crosby, Mitchell built a 27-7 lead at the half and held on for a 27-21 victory.

"I was concerned about a letdown game," Nash said. "I don't know if that's exactly what happened, but it was a flat half."

At first, it appeared the first half wouldn't be so bad.

On the opening possession, Hudson (3-1) recovered a fumble at the Mustangs' 4-yard line. The Cobras capitalized as quarterback Kyle Hatcher scored on a 2-yard sneak for a 7-0 lead.

But as soon as the second quarter started, momentum changed.

Brown scored on a 1-yard and 11-yard run and Watts rebounded from last week's shaky start to throw a pair of touchdown passes, a 32-yarder to Crosby and a 37-yarder to John Saxer.

"(Hudson) put 11 people within five yards of the line of scrimmage, so we had to throw," Mitchell coach Scott Schmitz said. "I thought we did a good job with that and played a heck of a first half."

Meanwhile, Hudson managed just 33 yards on offense and lost Hatcher, who was drilled by linebacker Troy Adams on the final play of the first half. Hatcher, who was knocked out momentarily, was taken to a local hospital.

"I really don't have more details about what happened," Nash said of Hatcher.

Playing without Hatcher in the second half, the Cobras turned to their other weapon in the backfield, running back Nate Toole, who sparked a rally.

Toole shook off a left ankle sprain and a deep thigh bruise to run for 75 yards, including a 17-yard run for a score that made it 27-14. Backup quarterback Chris Connell also threw a 39-yard pass to Tommy Snow for a touchdown to make it 27-21.

Hudson twice had the opportunity to go ahead, but both drives were killed by interceptions, the last by Crosby with 1:32 remaining.

"We feel good about beating a pretty good football team," Schmitz said. "I take my hat off to Hudson. They never quit. That's why they were 3-0. We relaxed a little, but I thought our defense stepped up when they had to make a play. We just need to learn how to put two halves together."