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HUDSON -- The Hudson boys lacrosse team has made it clear who was boss when it encountered an opponent from Stark County over the years.
Unfortunately for the Explorers, the servants overthrew the rulers for at least one night.
Hudson dropped to 10-5 on the season after suffering a tense 12-11 defeat to North Canton Hoover May 5 at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
The Vikings, who improved to 11-3, had not beaten the Explorers since 2010. In fact, when the two teams met in a Division I regional title game at Memorial Stadium last spring, the Explorers unloaded on Hoover to the tune of a lopsided 17-5 win.
On this night, the Vikings scored a very late goal in the first half to gain some momentum, took total control in the third quarter and then held tight during the closing moments to finally top its nemesis.
"Obviously, they [the Vikings] played a very good game and we didn't play a good game," said Hudson head coach David Blue, who has guided his teams to many victories over Hoover and another Stark County rival, Massillon Jackson, over the years. "We knew they wanted to slow it down and control us and they did."
Hoover took a 7-6 lead when Zack Owens scored after a time-out with 4.3 seconds left in the first half and then outscored the Explorers 3-0 in the third quarter.
However, Hudson, which had several shots hit iron or go just wide or over the goal, made a furious rally in the final period.
Merrick Widdoes found the net twice and Brady Ludewig scored in a span of nearly six minutes to cut Hoover's lead to 10-9.
But the Vikings, who dominated the face-offs for much of the cold, wet evening, scored four seconds later when they won the face-off and got a goal from Sam Esterle with 5 minutes, 42 seconds remaining.
Esterle scored again 72 seconds later and Hoover's lead was back up to three.
Patrick Burdett and Blake Lori were able to cut the Vikings' advantage to one (12-11), but Hudson had some costly turnovers and a crucial penalty that gave Hoover a man advantage in the final minute.
"We had our opportunities," Blue said. "We hit some posts and some crossbars. It just didn't happen."
Lori led the Explorers with three goals and Widdoes and Ludewig each had two goals. Cole Miller had a goal and three assists and Danny Saxon and Patrick Burdett each had one goal and one assist for Hudson.
Matt Restifo also scored for the Explorers and Max Cole, Anthony Rightnour and Chandler Kotseos each had an assist.
Esterle led the Vikings with four goals and Whit Stopak had three goals.
Zack Owens and Andrew Wells each scored twice for Hoover and Matt Chufar and J.D. Wagler each had a goal for the Vikings, who won 21 of 27 face-offs and had a 29-21 advantage in ground balls.
"Our wing guys did not do well on ground balls," Blue said.
Hudson goalie Stroud Corr and Hoover goalie Cameron Logan made 10 and 11 saves, respectively.
The Explorers committed 12 turnovers and the Vikings lost the ball 22 times. Hudson outshot Hoover 42-26.
The Explorers, who had lost two of their last three matches, were scheduled to host Hunting Valley University May 9. Results were not available at press time.
Hudson is set to visit Kent Roosevelt May 12 at 7 p.m.
"We've been in this situation before," Blue said. "We just have to fight our way through this."