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Eli Hudgins

Powdersville held on for a 45-44 victory over the Broome Centurions in the 1st round of the 3A playoffs. The dramatic last minute of the game featured touchdowns by both teams in a back-and-forth barn burner Friday night.

The Patriots were trailing late in the game, 38-37, when quarterback Eli Hudgins attempted a handoff to the left but the running back went the wrong way so Hudgins bootlegged to his right and waltzed into the end zone untouched with 55 seconds left in the game. Junior Jalen Rambert then scored on a 2-point conversion to put Powdersville ahead 45-38.

“That wasn’t even supposed to happen,” Hudgins said after the game. “We had called a different play and we just ran it wrong, so I just kind of grabbed it and took it outside. They had a lot of guys stuck in the box and I got outside, our receiver put a good block on the guy and I just pretty much walked in.”

“He’s [Hudgins] a kid that whenever the game’s on the line, you trust the ball being in his hands whether he’s throwing it or he’s keeping it,” said Powdersville coach Robert Mustar.

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Robert Mustar

Hudgins threw for 154 yards and 3 touchdowns, completing 8 of 17 passes. He rushed 7 times for 68 yards, including the game-winning, 15-yard touchdown run.

Broome (3-8) then marched down the field on its next possession. Dylan Ramirez threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jamir Dewberry to draw within one of Powdersville with 29 seconds left in the game. The Centurions elected to go for 2 to try and win the game. On their 1st attempt, Powdersville got a pass interference penalty. After the penalty moved Broome closer to the goal, Ramirez took a quarterback keeper up the middle and was stuffed by the Patriots defensive line to keep the score 45-44.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Centurions attempted an onside kick and junior Cooper Butler pounced on the ball to secure victory for Powdersville.

“We hadn’t had a close game in quite a while and I think at the time, was it fun? Close ball game like that is always intense. We had some kids that they willed it to happen,” said Mustar. “Now that it’s over, we got a victory, I think it’s probably going to be something looked at as a blessing that we had something we had to battle.”

That battle’s 1st score had Hudgins throwing a 55-yard pass to Drake Sloan across the middle before Sloan cut to his right and tiptoed down the sideline for a touchdown.

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Drake Sloan lines up out wide

The Centurions’ 1st points on the board came off tackling Powdersville’s Thomas Williams in the end zone for a safety to trail Powdersville 7-2.

Powdersvile’s defense stayed on point in the 1st half. Broome threatened to score and freshman Joshuan Knuckles recovered a fumble. Ben Rimer had a big tackle for loss. Senior Luke Hiller brought up 4th down with a tackle, then knocked the pass away to force Broome to turn the ball over on downs. Peyton Little had 8 tackles in the game, 2nd to Rambert’s 9. Little also had a long fumble recovery, nearly scoring. Little had several important tackles for Powdersville.

After Little’s fumble return,  Broome forced the Patriots to settle for a short field goal by Nate Spearman.

On Broome’s next offensive possession, Ramirez handed it off to Dewberry, who snuck into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. Dewberry had 4 touchdowns, 1 rushing and 3 receiving. He ran for 79 yards and caught 8 passes for 81 yards. Ramirez threw 5 touchdowns, amassed 405 yards and completed 33 of 43 passes.

Powdersville responded with a touchdown of its own, this time Hudgins throwing to Sloan for a 16 yards, the duo’s 2nd of the night.

On Broome’s following drive, Ramirez quickly hit Carlos Cohen for a 37-yard touchdown before halftime to leave the score 17-15, Powdersville.

The Centurions took their 1st lead of the game in the 3rd quarter on a Ramirez-to-Dewberry 23-yard touchdown. Ramirez then completed a pass to Zyon Wilikins for a successful 2-point conversion to put Broome up 23-17.

The Patriots then had two straight scores. One was a 35-yard touchdown pass from Hudgins to Williams. Williams’ only reception was the touchdown; he rushed 20 times for 185 yards.

On the next possession, linebacker-turned-fullback Rambert barreled down the middle for a 7-yard touchdown to regain the lead, 31-23.

“That’s just something we’ve had put in for a few weeks and just haven’t really shown it, Rambert said. “I had great blocks like Thomas [Williams]. Everyone talks about him running it, but if one of his teammates is getting the ball, he’s out there blocking.”

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Thomas Williams and Jalen Rambert

Williams had Powdersville’s next big defensive play, blocking a pass from Ramirez to one of Broome’s receivers. Ramirez threw to Dewberry once more for a 5-yard touchdown before throwing to Cohen for another successful conversion, Broome’s offense proving efficient as it quickly tied the game in the middle of the 4th quarter 31-31. 

Rambert then ran the ball again, this time 3 yards for his 2nd touchdown.

“Jalen Rambert, who doesn’t play a whole lot of offense, came in there and did some special things on that side of the ball and he was a gamer, he was ready,” Mustar said.

Broome retook the lead by 1 with a 48-yard touchdown from Ramirez to Braxtin Turner, leading up to the last-minute heroics.

That’s when the aforementioned last minute dramatics took place to keep the Patriots undefeated at 11-0.

Rambert and Hudgins and seemed to be on the same page after the game. 

Rambert said, “We were just messing up our jobs and messing up on stuff we don’t normally mess up on. We just have to correct that.”

“There’s a lot of stuff we have to clean up, it was too close for comfort. It was a sloppy game by us, got to clean it up going into next week though,” said Hudgins.

In the 2nd round of the 3A playoffs, Powdersville (11-0) hosts its rival, the Wren Hurricanes (6-5), for the 2nd time this season. The Patriots previously defeated Wren in Week 2, 10-9.