Wildcats’ quarterback wins Athlete of the Week

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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Due to his stellar performance on both sides of the ball, Springwood’s Luke Hudson is the Athlete of the Week. 

As the starting quarterback and linebacker, Hudson helped lead Springwood to a 27-6 win in their season opener against Calhoun County. Hudson totaled 116 yards through the air and 69 yards on the ground. On defense, Hudson had three tackles and a sack. 

“I felt like we were able to spread the ball out a little bit,” Hudson said. “We were kind of at a disadvantage because we were playing on a smaller field than we’re used to, but we were able to get it to our wide receivers and running back. They couldn’t really stop one guy.” 

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Last season, Hudson started at linebacker. Hudson also had to start games at quarterback due to injuries. This season Hudson came in knowing he was the starting quarterback. Being the starting quarterback did not stop him from wanting to be the team’s leader on both sides of the ball. 

“I take a lot of pride in it,” Hudson said in reference to playing on both sides of the ball. “Just kind of setting an example for other people, these younger kids looking up to us seniors and upperclassmen. Showing them that you can do both. You don’t just have to play one side of the ball. It’s able to be done both ways.” 

Hudson made his presence known in the second half of the season opener. In the second half, Calhoun County’s defense focused on stopping the run and limiting CJ Johnson. At that point, Hudson took charge of the offense. 

“They were sending everybody,” Hudson said. “You couldn’t really pass that much on the shorter field as we would have liked. I just decided, hey somebody’s going to have to do it. I just kind of said, I’m gonna put my foot down, and we’re just gonna go, we’re not gonna stop.” 

Head Coach Joey Burch noticed Hudson taking the game over in the second half. Despite having defenders closer to the line of scrimmage, Hudson took the game over with his legs. 

“He took over the ball game as well because he’s a big, physical kid,” Burch said after the game. “He would just pound it up in there and get us five or six yards.” 

The offensive line was challenged by the coaching staff in the second half. Luckily, the coaches had the benefit of having a coach on the field as their quarterback. 

“I was letting them know, it’s gonna have to be done,” Hudson said. “We’ve got to push them back, or else it’s not gonna be done, and they’re gonna come back and win this game.” 

Hudson’s leadership role has changed this season. Last season, Hudson was able to focus on the defense and leading on that side of the ball. This season, Hudson has become the leader of the entire team. 

“This year, I’m trying to be a lot more vocal,” Hudson said. “I just got to be as vocal as I was on defense this year. Just be as vocal as I can, try to be the best leader I can be and help my team win.” 

Being a defensive-minded player can sometimes give an athlete an “us against the world” mentality. However, Hudson has been able to seamlessly switch to playing on both sides of the ball due to the relationships he’s built with his teammates. 

Dylan Reeves, Eli Johnson, Greg Johnson and CJ Johnson have helped Hudson to grow his game and become a better quarterback. 

“They help communicate a lot with me [about] how the defense is covering them, some things I can’t see,” Hudson said. “They’ve helped me out a lot.” 

One unique aspect of Hudson’s position on the team is that his dad, David Hudson, is also one of the assistant coaches. 

“He’s definitely on me all the time,” Hudson said. “He’s always on me about everything, but I like it. I like the challenge. Always someone being on me, being there, watching everything I do [and] correcting me. It helps me better and makes me a better person for sure.” 

His dad also coaches him in baseball. According to Hudson, baseball is his primary sport. He plans to play baseball at the next level. 

One of the major improvements to Springwood early on has been in the weight room. According to Hudson, Springwood would typically only have five or so guys show up to workouts last season. This season that number has improved drastically. 

Hudson said that the coaches pushed weight room improvement last season, but the improvement this season has been led by the players. The players are motivated to get back to the state championship and win it this time. 

“I expect us to go all the way this year,” Hudson said. “That’s our main goal.” 

Springwood will have to lean on their leader again this week as they open region play on the road against Southern Prep Academy.