It wasn’t just offensively that Hugen stepped up for Albia. Doubling up on defense and special teams, Hugen got last Friday’s game off to a unique start by tackling Grant Petersen in the end zone on the opening kickoff to give the Blue Demons a 2-0 lead on a safety four seconds into the contest.
Hugen also delivered the final blow on defense, hitting Blue Jay wide receiver Harrison Vermie to ensure the sophomore did not come down with a fourth down reception in the final minute that would have kept a potential game-winning drive for Bondurant-Farrar alive.
“We have a tough defense that always comes up huge when we need it to,” Hugen said. “I knew the rest of my teammates had been there all day long for us on defense, so I just went out there and made sure to prevent a last touchdown from happening.”
Hugen, however, could rarely be stopped from jaunting into the end zone. All four of his scoring catches last Friday came with Leshen finding his top receiver in the field, forcing Hugen to outrun possible Blue Jay defenders.
All four times, that is exactly what Hugen did, catching passes from 51 and 48 yards out in stride with a step on a defender. Hugen’s two 35-yard scores, one that opened the Albia scoring in the first quarter and the final one that closed it out, came with a defender trying to cut down the Blue Demon speedster in the field of play.
“Zach Hugen is a hard guy to stop at receiver,” Staton said. “There’s a catch he was able to make (against Davis County) even while he was having his jersey pulled. He’s just a tough kid to slow down.”
The last two weeks have tested Albia’s ability to pull together to keep a perfect record intact. After winning the first three games of the season easily by a combined score of 158-13, the Blue Demons have shown the capability to pull out very close contests.