The semi-final round has never been a good friend to the St. Ansgar Saints in high school football playoffs. Last year and this year, the roadblock to the title is the semi-final game. This time, the Hudson Pirates dispatched the Saints 41-17 on Friday morning at Northern Iowa University.
The Saints opened the game with an exchange of touchdowns with Hudson scoring first off of a 51 yard dash. The Saints retaliated with an 82 yard touchdown run by Josh Van Vliet. The scoring parade didn’t end there. Hudson upped the score 14-7 off of a touchdown run by Christian Seres. It was his second score of the night. Seres has 25 touchdowns on the year having run for 1,661 on 237 carries prior to the game.
The Saints leading rusher Dayton Smith was effective in penetrating the Pirates defense while the third leading rusher on the team, Jack Sievert found a 19 yard path into the end zone for another score and leveling the game at 14-14.
Hudson returned the favor with a field goal and watched as the Saints Van Vliet went down with a collarbone injury, thus depleting the top running back corps by one third. The effect became very obvious as St. Ansgar could not punch the ball across and settled for a game tying field goal. with 1:47 left in the half.
Hudson then went into a quick offensive run, driving seven plays and opening the passing attack as Al Hageman caught an 18 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Jacob Murray with :20 seconds left for a 24-17 lead going into halftime.
The Pirates obviously saw something in that drive that they used to their advantage in the second half piling on an additional two touchdowns and another field goal while holding the Saints scoreless. Murray threw for 166 yards, the majority of which was in the second half. Hudson’s Seres ran for a total of 210 yards.
For the Saints, Dayton Smith had 109 yards in total rushing, finishing the year with 1,594 yards in total rushing yardage. Van Vliet capped his season with 91 yards in rushing giving him 1,011 yards on the year.
The Saints have a promising corps of returning players next year whose goal is most assuredly to get past that semi-final roadblock.