Hudson Middle, Title Town

Last year's football win was just the first of many crowns for the school.

Published August 25, 2006

HUDSON - The football team set the table for Hudson Middle's season of championships.

The Cougars (6-0) went unbeaten to win the first of six school titles.

Also winning titles in 2005-06 were Hudson's eighth- and seventh-grade volleyball teams, eighth-grade girls basketball and eighth-grade boys basketball teams, as well as the girls track and field team.

Hudson's previous best season came in 1995, when the eighth-grade boys basketball and seventh-grade volleyball teams won Pasco County Middle School Athletic Conference crowns.

"It seemed that the entire school had a winning attitude," Hudson Middle athletic director Joe Wajerski said. "The volleyball players supported the football team, the football players supported the basketball teams. It was just a carry-over effect."

Actually Hudson was won one of three middle school football champions last season. Pasco and Weightman shared the east division title with 5-1 records.

The conference split into east and west divisions in 2003. That year, a county-record four teams - Hudson and Seven Springs in the west, along with Pasco and Weightman in the east - shared crowns.

This season, two more schools are in the championship hunt. Paul Smith in Holiday and John Long in Wesley Chapel join the mix of 13 teams, seven on the west side and six in the east.

Two individual records were set and two team marks extended in Hudson's record-breaking season. Quarterback Zack Wynn passed for eight touchdowns and Dylan Luke had five interceptions. Luke also ran for 710 yards and had 11 touchdowns, but neither statistic was a record.

As for the team marks, the Cougars had their second unbeaten season (to match a 6-0 record in 2001) and won their third title outright. They have shared two others.

"The kids worked hard from the first day of practice," Hudson coach Tony Qualtiere said, adding that the middle school and high school - Hudson's varsity squad won its first playoff game last season - are improving.

"The programs, all the way up, are starting to believe in themselves," Qualtiere said.

Playing the last football game on either side of the county in 2005 was Pasco and Stewart. The Pirates defeated the Bulldogs 25-8 to tie Weightman at 5-1 and earn a share of the east crown.

Pasco's Avery Clemmons, Ben Williams, Antwon Story and Willie Jackson had touchdown runs against Stewart. On the other side of the ball, Marcus Hicks, Jamie Byrd and Story each had an interception in that contest.

"It would have been nice to have it outright, but we'll take it," Pasco coach Danny Wade said after that game.

Wade is 15-3 in three seasons at Pasco.

-- Contact Steve Lee at lee@sptimes.com