HUDSON — The 12th annual Hudson Hawks Youth Organization and Special Olympics athletes Challenger Game was played Sept. 4 at Malson Field, featuring the Special Olympics Challenger team against a team from Hudson. 

This year the Hudson eighth grade team served as the competition for the Challenger squad.

The game started quickly for the Challengers, scoring on their first possession and never looking back. The team displayed quickness and intensity throughout the game and when the final whistle was blown, the Challenger team had secured a 126-0 victory over the eighth-grade team.

Hawks President Mike DeLeo was not at all surprised at the outcome of the contest, noting that he has been a part of the annual tradition for all 12 years and the challengers continue to beat up on whichever team they face.

The game provides community awareness of the special athletes in Hudson and an opportunity for Special Olympic athletes to participate in the great game of football. Ultimately, all share a day celebrating the special athletes and their love of football. This is truly the greatest game of the year.

The game is sponsored by the Hawks Board of directors, which works tirelessly on the event. Several local businesses in Hudson and the Hawks players collect money for the Special Olympics organization during their annual Tag Day.

This year the Hawks donated $5,000 to the Special Olympics and a check was presented after the game from DeLeo to Norbert and Danny O’Brien of the Special Olympics team.

DeLeo says that of all the games over the 20 years that he has been involved with the Hawks, this is by far the most satisfying every season. 

"Even though the Challengers completely dominate us on the field," he says, "nobody leaves the facility this night without a huge smile on their faces. And that is what this night is all about for everyone involved."

The game also featured the Hudson Pep band along with cheerleading squads from the high school, eighth grade and Hawks and was well attended and supported by the Hudson community.