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Explorers boys lacrosse coach David Blue gets 300th win

By FRANK ACETO Associate Sports Editor Published: April 16, 2017 12:06 AM
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He has won a state title, several regional championships and has guided many athletes to the collegiate level.

On April 12, longtime Hudson head boys lacrosse coach David Blue got to be part of another exclusive club.

That would be the 300 club.

Blue notched his 300th career win after the Explorers cruised to a 14-3 victory over Jackson at Robert Fife Stadium in Massillon.

Blue, who is in his 22nd year as head coach at Hudson, owned a career record of 300-106 as of press time. It also was the Explorers' second consecutive win.

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Hudson, which has reached the state semifinals 10 times since the beginning of the millennium, including the team's only state title in 2011, improved to 7-1 on the season.

"In regards to the 300 wins, I guess there are many things that have gone into it," Blue said. "I have had some great supporters in athletic directors Ed Sogan, Ray Ebersole and now, Dan Kalinsky. I cannot thank them enough for the support."

Blue also praised his coaching staff, which features some of his former players.

"Eli George, Logan Parsons, Charlie Joyce, and Tyler Zickel have been phenomenal and in particular, Todd Sidle, who is one of the best coaches around," Blue said. "They are truly dedicated to the players, the sport and the Hudson lacrosse program in general. I think they are equally as important to the success of our program."

Against the Polar Bears (4-2), the Explorers were in complete control from the beginning. They raced out to an 8-0 lead at halftime and were up 14-2 after three quarters.

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"All 30 dressed players saw considerable action," Blue said.

Anthony Rightnour led the Explorers with six goals and Merrick Widdoes had two goals and two assists. Cole Miller finished with two goals and one assist and Max Cole had three assists for Hudson.

Chandler Kotseos, Joe Graf, Matt Restifo and Brady Ludewig each scored for the Explorers, who converted 3-of-4 extra-man opportunities and were 6-of-7 in shutting down Jackson's man-down opportunities.

Danny Saxon also had an assist, four ground balls and two takeaways and Hudson goalies Stroud Corr and Matt Withem made eight and two saves, respectively, in the cage. Corr, Rightnour and Widdoes earned game balls for their efforts.

"Stroud was incredible in the cage," Blue said. "He made saves on several point-blank shots."

Enrique Rodriguez was his usual stellar self on defense. He scooped up four ground balls and had two takeaways.

"Will Orazen, moving from midfield to long stick, had a solid game," Blue said. "Brandon Nelson rotated in the defensive groups and had a good game, too."

The Explorers had a 34-27 advantage in total shots and a 30-21 edge in ground balls. Hudson committed 15 turnovers compared to 23 for Jackson.

Over the years, Blue has coached a plethora of talented players, including a handful of All-Americans. Once again, Hudson looks to be a powerhouse, thanks to its wealth of talent.

"Our players over the years have put in so much work to produce the results," Blue said. "They are dedicated, passionate and remarkable young men who we are proud to have part of our program.

"We preach teamwork, tradition and pride as a motto of our program. The legacies that each class leaves and passes on to one another is the most important thing.

"The fact that we get so many former players going off to play in college, coach after they are done in high school and then become productive members of the community is extremely important."

Blue also has appreciated all the people who have worked behind the scenes during his 22-year tenure.

"The support I have received from the parents has been great," he said. "Special notes about Claudine and Chris Rightnour, Sue Malson, Bob and Diane Hoelzel and countless others who have supported the program. They have given back to it in so many ways and that is vital to the success.

"Finally, my wife Annette and kids, Ainsley and Preston, have always been my biggest supporters and have allowed me to pursue this passion and career path. Without them, I don't have this program where it is. I think love and support from home go a lot further than people think."

The Explorers were scheduled to host Olentangy Liberty April 14 at Hudson Memorial Stadium. Results were not available at press time.

Hudson is set to entertain Westlake April 18 at 7 p.m.

 

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