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Varsity Letters

The day McKinley rose up and ended Hudson's playoff hopes

By izzy Published: November 4, 2009

When you are a writer, you see things from different angles than the public, particularly fans that follow one high school team.

On Saturday, Canton McKinley defeated Massillon, 35-21, which is always special in and of itself. Here were the Bulldogs, a team that had blown a 34-2 lead two weeks earlier in a 38-34 loss to North Canton Hoover, reaching the playoffs on third level points.

It was a glorious moment for McKinley coach Ron Johnson, who has been roasted this season by Bulldog fans as if he was the most evil character a writer could concoct. After the game, he told me that the players never quit and that is what made him so proud of the kids.

So McKinley heads to Toledo Whitmer Saturday hoping to pull off another upset and go further into the playoffs.

For Hudson players and fans, the McKinley victory was a crushing loss because the Explorers were the team bumped out of the playoffs. On the face of it, this is ridiculous. Hudson is 8-2 and McKinley is 6-4.

What killed the Explorers were some opponents who just had awful seasons. Jackson, normally a .500 team at least, took the pipe and was 0-10. Lakewood, the worst Division I program in Northeast Ohio and frankly is a waste of time watching, had its usual one win season. The Rangers were Hudson's opponent in Week 10, giving virtually nothing in computer points to the Explorers.

Hudson coach Tom Narducci, quarterback Richie Piekarski and the Explorer seniors

People talk about win or go home themes for the playoffs. As Hudson now knows, sometimes you go home early when you win because you lose. Life is not always fair.

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