Semifinal Preview: Whiteford Bobcats vs Hudson Tigers

By Frank Vajcner

The matchup that many have been clamoring for in Division 8 will happen at Adrian College’s Docken Stadium (Saturday, 1 pm), as the Whiteford Bobcats (11-1) take on the Hudson Tigers (12-0). 

Hudson Tigers (12-0, LCAA)


Def. Reading 22-0 in District Semis

Def. Addison 22-6 in District Final

Def. White Pigeon 8-0 in Regional

Dan Rogers has the Tigers back on the map in his second season after taking over for the legendary Chris Luma. The Tigers are back in the semifinal for the first time since 2011, and seventh time in school history.

Hudson averages 32.8 points per game out of the full house T offense. Running the football is how the Tigers will make hay, as they average 304 rushing yards per game. Leading the ground attack is Nick Kopin (218 carries, 1397 yards, 16 TDs). Joining Kopin in the backfield are Brendan Akers (179 carries, 856 yards, 12 TDs) and Bronson Marry (76 carries, 509 yards, 7 TDs) as the primary ball carriers. 

The strong rushing attack has made life fairly easy for QB Anthony Arredondo (25-for-42, 372 yards, 4 TDs). Arredondo’s primary target when throwing the ball is TE Ambrose Horwath (19 catches, 308 yards, 5 TDs).

Defensively, the Tigers give up a stingy 5.8 points per game (yes, you read that right) with 7 shutouts. Leading the way are DL Cam Kimble (74 tackles, 3 TFL, sack) and Ethan Harris (47 tackles, 5 TFL, sack), LB Payton Rogers, (87 tackles, 6 TFL, 3 interceptions), and DB Bronson Marry (47 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 interceptions). Horwath also has 3 interceptions on defense.

Coach’s Comment: Whiteford is a well-coached physical football team with athletes that can score at any time. It will be a great atmosphere and should be a great high school football game. We are excited for the opportunity to play in the state semifinals.

Whiteford Bobcats (11-1, TCC)


Def. Summerfield 42-0 in District Semis

Def. Sand Creek 54-14 in District Final

Def. Clarkston Everest Collegiate 38-12 in Regional

The Bobcats are making their fourth semifinal appearance, and first since their State Championship in 2017. All four appearances have come under head coach Jason Mensing. 

Whiteford comes in with the top scoring offense in Division 8 at 50.5 points per game. Whiteford will utilize multiple formations on offense, but their bread and butter is the double wing. Junior QB Shea Ruddy is dangerous as a passer (60-110, 1184 passing yards, 15 TDs) and a runner (74 carries, 659 yards, 8 TDs). He has been the leading rusher in all three playoff games for the Bobcats.

Senior RB Cole Giesege leads Whiteford in rushing (148 carries, 1241 yards, 21 TDs) and receiving (15 catches, 337 yards, 5 TDs), and has made a strong case for Offensive Player of the Year. Junior RB Drew Knaggs (100 carries, 653 yards, 12 TDs) has come alive in the latter part of the season. Jake Iott (97 carries, 568 yards, 9 TDs) and Luis Trejo (64 carries, 430 yards, 6 TDs) have also been productive running the ball.

Senior TE Jack Andrews (15 catches, 263 yards, 4 TDs) has also been a favorite target of Ruddy.

The Bobcats’ offensive line, led by senior LT and two-time All-Stater Noah Bauman, has helped the offense average 7.5 yards per play. Bauman is joined on the line by RT Jack Iott, center Kyle Gray, and guards Shane Suchora and Brayden Luse.

Defensively, Whiteford has allowed 19.8 points per game, but since giving up 40 in a win over Kalamazoo Loy Norrix in Week 7, they have allowed 58 points with two shutouts. Bauman (13 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles) anchors the defensive line. Iott leads the team in tackles at linebacker with 67, while the secondary features Giesege (29 solo tackles, 8 PBUs, interception return for TD), Hunter DeBarr (28 tackles, 9 PBUs, 3 interceptions), and the two of the Ruddy brothers, Shea (10 PBUs, 2 interceptions) and Ryin (38 solo tackles, 17 PBUs, 2 interceptions).

Giesege is also a dangerous kick returner, with two kickoff returns for touchdown.

Coach’s Comment: It is a tremendous blessing for us to be able to play Hudson at Adrian College. Hudson has a great tradition and football team and is the top rated team in our division. We can’t wait for a great atmosphere vs a great opponent.


Frank: I know I have billed this as the de facto state championship game, but in reality, this is the irresistible force (Whiteford offense) meeting the immovable object (Hudson defense). Having officiated both of these teams, I can also say that anyone who watches this game on Saturday will get their money’s worth. Get your popcorn ready for what will be showdown for the ages. Pick: Hudson 24 Whiteford 22

Gary: Great game between two great programs. The winner of this game, to me, will be the favorite to win it all. Pick: Hudson 26 Whiteford 25

Chris: This should be a great game between two very well coached teams. Whiteford has a high flying offense while Hudson has a great defense. But will those be the difference in the game? This could come down to the question of, is Hudson’s offense better than Whiteford’s defense? This late in the season I would normally pick the best defense, but I have a hunch on Whiteford being able to score just enough. Pick: Whiteford 26 Hudson 22. For the record, I will take Ubly in the State Championship over whoever wins this game.

17 thoughts on “Semifinal Preview: Whiteford Bobcats vs Hudson Tigers”

  1. Whiteford and whiteford big they have to much talent on both sides of the ball. They’re defense is good enough to stop Hudson’s offense I don’t think anyone in division 8 can stop Whitefords however.

  2. Whiteford has way too much talent to only be scoring in the 30’s. Many of Hudson’s shutouts were against low caliber offensive teams. I don’t think this one will be close. 42-17

  3. Solid review.. But this Will be Whiteford and the Margin will surprise many I believe…

    Comparing the two teams:

    Offense: Whiteford (big play potential all over with run and pass threat on every down. They play with a physicality that Hudson has not see yet this season.

    Whiteford 43 Hudson 22

    Defense: Whiteford (Bauman alone will disrupt Hudson enough to throw them off balance)

    Special Teams: Toss up (really the only intangible that I don’t think is in favor of Whiteford)

    Coaching: Whiteford… In my opinion Whiteford has 3-4 coaches that could step in at Hudson and have had the same type of season as Rogers. There are several former head coaches on Whiteford’s staff. The Coaching depth/Experience for the Bobcats is simply too experienced in big game match ups for Hudson to overcome.

    Common Opponets: Whiteford,They had their way with IDA, and Blissfield did what they do best (Scored garbage time TD’s late to make the game seem closer than what it really was. Hudson literally could have flipped a coin and lost to Ida or Clinton (They did not, and I understand that, but still..)Frank you worked the Ida game.. How you didnt see the difference in physicality is dumbfounding to me.

    1. Its ok to dream i guess but the reality is this is going to be very good game and im guessing low scoring and close. As far as physicality you obviously have not been to a hudson game physicality and discipline is what got them here and thats why frank did not see the huge difference you think is there becauze there is not one and he has watched both these teams play close up and personal. Both these teams have great players and coaching or they would not have made it this far and as far as coaching goes i dont know anything about the whiteford coaching staff so have no comment on that but the hudson staff may have a different head coach now but most of the staff including danny have been coaching hudson football forever and do a great job including the game that won them there last state title so big game experiance they have for sure. Also comparing scores from same teams they both played means nothing theres a bunch of varibles that make it comparing apples to oranges thats like saying they beat that team by 10 and we beat that same team by 20 so we should beat them by 10 just not how it works football is not a math problem. This is going to be a great game to watch cant wait for saturday. go tigers!

    2. Whiteford, Looks like Those 3-4 coaches got out coached ……

      Chris what happen to Ubly? this is why we play the games

      TY FNV, another season for our teams in the books

  4. Hudson has not played anyone with anywhere near Whiteford’s talent. They have athletes all over the field. If Whiteford gets up a couple of scores and forces Hudson out of their game this could be a rout.

    1. You think they can put up 76 like they did early in the year trying to break the school record?
      Not a fan of Whiteford after that,
      Go Hudson!

      1. Regardless of everyone’s thoughts…..I want whiteford! I am a complete fan of another region/FNV team. This is what we have left!! Love it and hope they play their butts off and win!!! LFG!

      2. Funny tho cuz the coach put in the jv team halfway through the 4th so they didn’t break the record… and that was a D1 school

        1. Pure BS.
          One of their starting backs scored in the 4th quarter.
          You get 76 up 4 scores you take a knee.
          Not a fan anymore.
          Go Hudson, and if Hudson loses, go Ubly.

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