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Hudson goes where very few Pasco County teams have gone before: to the region final.
By FRANK PASTOR
Published November 19, 2005
HUDSON - His team trailed by a touchdown, but Hudson coach Mark Nash could tell by the fire in Vince Ferlita's eyes as the senior steamed past him with a third-quarter kickoff return that the deficit wouldn't last long.
Eyes burning and legs churning, Ferlita raced 57 yards to set up quarterback Kyle Hatcher's winning touchdown run in Hudson's 20-12 victory Friday at Cobra Stadium.
"As soon as he took his first 10 steps, I said, "This may go, this may go,"' Nash said. "He was at full speed immediately, and he had a look in his eyes like, "Nobody's tackling me."'
Ferlita rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown, Hatcher threw for 195 and a score and Roger Hill had two sacks and a fumble recovery as Hudson (10-2) joined the 1983 and '92 Pasco teams and the 2002 and '03 Land O'Lakes squads as the only Pasco County teams to advance to the third round of the playoffs.
"This is what it's all about," Hatcher said. "It's all about pride and taking a little bit back for Pasco."
Williston (6-6) stacked the line of scrimmage and blitzed both of its linebackers when Hudson lined up in the shotgun, limiting the Cobras to Hatcher's 48-yard touchdown pass to Jacob McFadden in a first half that ended 6-6.
Williston went ahead 12-6 on Todd Brown's 13-yard touchdown reception in front of Ferlita with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
Determined to make up for the play, Ferlita fielded the ensuing kickoff, found a gaping hole up the middle and chugged to the Williston 31. He didn't stop there, carrying three times for 21 yards to the 2. Two plays later, Hatcher sneaked 1 yard up the middle to put Hudson ahead to stay.
"The wide receiver was showing me up all over the field," Ferlita said. "When he scored that touchdown and they went up, I was like, "I just can't get down, I've got to do something.' So when I got that ball, it was a great kick, it was right to me, so I was like, "All right, this has got to be it."'
After struggling to move the ball on the ground in the first half, Hudson knew it was only a matter of time before a line anchored by 300-pounders Allen Wynn and Robert Allen wore down smaller Williston.
Cracks began to form in the Red Devils' defensive front early in the third quarter, and Ferlita broke through for an 83-yard touchdown early in the fourth.
As the final seconds ticked down, assistant Glenn Hobbs picked up Hatcher, who turned to the overflow crowd and raised his index finger in the air.
"We're one of the eight best 3A teams in the state," Nash said.