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Hudson's hurting at bad time

Published Aug. 28, 2005

Hudson was not just beaten by Mitchell in last week's non-district game.

The Cobras were also beat up.

Injuries were sustained to Hudson's leading passer (Kyle Hatcher), leading rusher (Nate Toole) and leading tackler (Royce Simonds).

In fact, the medical chart is packed with so many scribbles, notes and numbers that it has grown to resemble a textbook on sports injuries.

"I'm going to see how these guys can hold up," Cobras coach Mark Nash said.

This was the worst-case scenario for Nash, whose biggest concern against Mitchell was keeping his players healthy in a game that meant no more than bragging rights.

Now, the Cobras could line up without three of their best players for Friday's game against Wesley Chapel that could go a long way toward deciding the Class 3A, District 9 champion.

"We'll go with whoever we can put out on the field," Nash said.

Missing Toole would hurt the most. The senior, who is the county's leading rusher (353 yards) and scorer (48 points), suffered a deep right thigh bruise against Pasco two weeks ago and aggravated the injury against Mitchell.

"It just got worse as the game went on," Toole said. "I got hit pretty good about three or four times on that thigh. After the game, it was real tight and the knee swelled up."

Toole said he was going to be evaluated today.

"It's frustrating because I want to be there," Toole said. "Hopefully, I can just tough it out. I know this is an injury that is going to stay with me all season."

Hatcher was laid out by vicious hit at the end of the first half and was carted off the field. He had a mild concussion and was taken to the hospital.

Entering the game, Hatcher was the county's leading passer (466 yards).

His brother, Simonds, a free safety, joined him in the hospital. Simonds, who had 22 tackles entering the game, sprained his shoulder early in the first quarter but continued playing.

The injuries could not have happened at a worse time.

Wesley Chapel is riding a 13-game regular-season win streak, the longest in the county, and has outscored opponents 114-7 this season.

"It's tough," Nash said. "But we'll be ready."