HUDSON — Coach Mark Kantor wanted an offensive line.
Once he took over the Hudson High football team in early 2012, Kantor knew the way to turn around back-to-back 0-10 seasons was the big men up front. Hudson’s offensive line has become one of the top units in Pasco County and has been able to pave the way for an average of 220 yards per game and a 1,000-plus yard rusher: Noah Siegrist.
A major difference Kantor sees is the dedication the line will need heading into tonight’s season finale at crosstown rival Fivay (3-6).
“A lot more dedication and more of a will to win,” said Kantor, whose team is 6-3. “I think they wanted to make a statement this season for all the seniors who’ve been here all four years and went through the 0-20. Going through the transformation last season and now this year’s success just made them realize what they’re capable of.”
Hudson’s offensive line was capable of leading the Cobras to their first postseason appearance since 2009, and the pressure of each game has steadily rested upon the broad shoulders of Kameron DeWitt, Robbie McCarty, Alex Munson, Chris Campos, Scott Carley, Nick Repanti and Grayson Stover, since Hudson has mostly had a run-heavy attack. That pressure never really affected the linemen until last week’s Class 5A-District 7 championship game at Anclote, which Hudson lost 35-14 and forced the Cobras into a postseason showdown with Pinellas County power Lakewood (6-3).
“I think the most pressure we felt was last week’s game against Anclote,” Munson said. “We didn’t realize the pressure until right before the game and it was really all upon us to come up big. I’ve never felt that pressure in any of the other games.”
The Cobras can exhale from last week’s pressure cooker district-title game and focus on Fivay, which is 3-0 vs. Hudson. The Cobras want momentum heading into next week’s playoff game and there’s not a better way than to fine tune the running game with the offensive line leading the way.
“All of our focus is on Fivay this week,” DeWitt said. “We don’t want to head into the playoffs with two losses in a row, so we’re going to right that. We’ve never beaten Fivay and we want to be that group to pick up victory No. 1 against the Falcons.”
PREDICTION: All seven correspondents who cover Pasco County football, Mike Camunas, Andy Villamarzo, Kyle LoJacono, Bart O’ Connell, Chris Errington, Kenny Sanders and Steve Campbell pick Hudson over Fivay.
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.