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by Rob Barrone | Correspondent
Strongsville -- The deep ball was in order for the Hudson football team. And boy, did it ever work beautifully.
The Explorers improved to 2-0 after posting a convincing 35-20 victory over Strongsville Sept. 2 on the road.
Hudson went deep repeatedly with a high rate of success and was up 28-0 at one point.
Offensive coordinator Shawn Surdy celebrated his birthday in style as the Explorers' rookie offensive line gave the Hudson quarterbacks more than enough time to find the outside speedsters beyond the coverage.
With the line providing the protection for Explorer quarterbacks Jackson Parker and Colt Pallay, wideouts Greg Mailey and Sam Wright had big nights.
Mailey had six receptions for 108 yards and a score and Wright caught five passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Mailey and Wright's 100-yard games are the first by a pair of Hudson receivers since Jared Ruffing and Colton Whited reached the century mark during the Explorers' 35-17 win over Strongsville in 2013.
"We tried to take what the defense gave us," Hudson first-year head coach Jeff Gough said. "Coach Surdy, our offensive coordinator, did a great job. We had a great game plan and the kids executed.
"The big key for our offensive line was sticking to the game plan. For being so inexperienced, you got to put the win on them. On the long balls, he had plenty of time. That's great, especially so early in the season."
Pallay and Parker took turns at the helm after Parker piloted the Explorers' first three possessions.
Hudson scored on four of its first six touches and missed long field-goal tries on the other two. Pallay ended with a 10-for-15 night for 183 yards and two TDs.
Parker hit 6-of-13 passes for 84 yards and a score and added a game-high 95 yards rushing on 11 carries and two more TDs.
"They [the Mustangs] didn't cover the deep ball so much," Pallay said. "Their safety would rush down, so on the post, we got our guy one on one. We liked that matchup and we threw long."
The Explorers' signal callers rarely missed, especially when Mailey and Wright ran post patterns.
"Put it all on the offensive line," Wright said. "Their blocking was great," Wright said. "Colt and Jackson were throwing nice balls. Coach [wide receivers coach Dave] Bosko has been working with us and doing a nice job along with coach [Mark] Ludewig. I've got to give the credit to those guys."
Wright caught long TD passes from Pallay (26 yards) and Parker (33 yards) just 63 seconds apart early in the second quarter. His two scores, along with two of Grant Gonya's five extra-point kicks upped what was a 14-0 lead at the first quarter break to 28-0 at intermission.
It was a big second quarter for the offense following up a huge first quarter led by the ground game.
In the first quarter, Parker capped off the team's first two possessions with TD runs.
The senior got Hudson on the board first after an eight-play, 62-yard march on the game's first possession.
Parker faked a handoff to Kevin Callahan (who had the big play in the drive with a 23-yard run) and kept the ball going to the left for the game's first score. Hudson led 7-0 with 9 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first period.
After a Mustang three and out, Parker made short work of the second touch, taking off over right tackle and racing down the sideline for a 58-yard score and a 14-0 lead (7:44 to play in the first).
In the second quarter, the Explorers were up 28-0 just 13:34 into the game after Wright's back-to-back TD receptions.
Strongsville got on the board in the third quarter, thanks to a 38-yard fumble return for a score by Christian Williams.
But Hudson's offense responded.
Pallay guided the Explorers on a six-play, 82-yard drive. Pallay completed 3-of-3 passes for 75 yards, including a 36-yard TD reception to Wright with 5:05 left in the third.
The Mustangs added two TDs and a safety in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late for Strongsville, which defeated Hudson 17-10 last year in week two.
"They made some great adjustments at halftime and we were trying to learn how to play with the lead a little bit there," Gough said. "They've got a young team and they showed a lot of fight coming back the way they did. We helped them out a little bit with some turnovers, but I'm happy with the end result."
The Explorers had three turnovers in the final 24 minutes. Nonetheless, the damage was minimal.
"We really put in a lot of hard work in practice," Pallay said. "Our offense last week wasn't very fluid. The line worked the hardest. They have so many fronts to cover.
"The receivers do a great job, too, with our new coach, coach Bosko. They really work hard on getting off the defenders at the line. That's how we got most of our posts, getting past the defender and going deep."
Hudson is scheduled to host Canton McKinley in the first meeting between the two programs Sept. 9.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Hudson Memorial Stadium.