Hudson knocks Pekin from playoffs

Following the game the Pekin Panthers were awarded a trophy for making the playoffs. 
"The future is bright, but we're going to miss the heck out of our seniors," said Panther coach Bud Blakely at the conclusion of the game.

The Pekin Panthers faced one of their hardest opponents all year when they traveled to face Hudson on October 27. Pekin came into the game with one loss, coming from the division's best team, Lynnville-Sully. Hudson knocked Pekin out of the playoffs with a shutout, 35-0.

The Panthers got things going, working their way methodically down the field on their first drive of the game. The drive stalled out just outside of the red zone as the Hudson defense began to make stops. The Pekin defense also started out hot, keeping the play in front of them for much of the time. Hudson was able to find the end zone to finish their drive, taking a 7-0 lead.

The Panthers were held in check for most of the first half. The wet and windy weather handcuffed the offense when they wanted to pass, keeping them one dimensional a majority of the time. On any other night, against any other team that would have favored the Panthers. The Hudson defense proved to be a different animal however, not allowing Pekin any big plays.

Monico Requena, the Panther's star rusher, suffered a concussion midway through the second quarter, which sidelined him for the remainder of the game. Pekin headed into halftime down by 14 after a late score in the second quarter. Despite the lopsided stats, the Panthers still had hope to make a comeback.

"Monico is a special player," Panther coach Bud Blakely said. "He's a senior and it's a tough pill to swallow is seeing him go out that way."

The players got a brief break from the rain/snow mix and cold blustery wind during the half. Hudson came out fired up, while Pekin came out determined to get themselves going and get on the board. Their morale took a hit when Hudson put up another score, this time coming from a long run, eluding tackles.

Pekin didn't help themselves when they had the ball on offense either, with costly penalties. Just when the Panthers would begin to move the ball down the field, they would follow up with one or two consecutive penalties. More often than not, the extra yardage kept Pekin from getting needed first downs, and led to more punts.

"We were kind of our own worst enemy tonight," Blakely said. "Turnovers and penalties, lots of things uncharacteristic of us tonight."

The explosive back for Hudson tacked on two more touchdowns to put the game out of reach in the final quarter. Both sides continued to run the ball, salting away the time as they went.

The Pekin offense was held in check all night long, totaling 91 yards, 78 coming on the ground.

"Our seniors played with a lot of heart, they never quit," Blakely said. "They really helped get Pekin football back on the map and they've been an exciting group to watch."