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Hudson honored as state's top high school football official

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Back judge 34-year veteran of calling games

By Robert Howey

Veteran high school football official Ken Hudson has been honored as the National Federation of High School Officials Association 2008 S.C. Football Official of the Year.

Hudson, a 34-year official of working games in S.C., received the honor Monday night at the S.C. High School Football Directors meeting in Columbia.

“I was quite surprised and honored to receive the award,” Hudson said. “It’s an honor to be considered.”

Hudson’s prep football officiating career includes two positions on the field – linesman and back judge, his position the last five seasons.

His career includes calling the top Carolinas high school all-star football games, the 1984 Shrine Bowl and the 1982 North-South All-Star game.

Hudson, a Fairfield County native, has also called 24 state championship football games – four each in Class A and Class AA, five in Class AAA and 11 in the Class AAAA ranks.

He recalled his early years in working with former local officials who provided key guidance.

The group includes the late Columbus “Big Daddy” Parker, Sam Spann, John Jenkins and Arthur Benjamin.

“Sam Spann was a referee and was good in helping to interpret the rules and breaking down different game situations. ‘Big Daddy’ Parker was great at working with players, saying the right thing at the right time to keep a game running smooth,” Hudson said. “Mr. Jenkins was good in being in the right position and Mr. Ben was always excited and enthusiastic about officiating.”

Hudson is part of an elite group of Lancaster area officials who are members in the S.C. Football Officials Hall of Fame which includes Jim Bull, Jim Howey and Max Melton, the latest inductee.

Hudson said he along with those three officials and Frank Overcash “grew together” in working high school football.

Melton and Bull still call high school football games, while Howey is a National Football League official and Overcash works Atlantic Coast Conference games.

Roger Hazel, Assistant Commissioner with the S.C. High School League, said Hudson’s selection for the award was based on such criteria as years of experience, ratings and knowledge of the rules.

“Ken does an outstanding job,” said Hazel. “Ken’s very professional, knows the rules well and uses good people skills to perform his duties.

“He’s the kind of guy you want out there,” said Hazel, a former high school football coach.

Hazel noted Hudson is a member of the League’s Executive Committee, representing the S.C. Athletic  Officials Association.

“A couple of years back, Ken served as the athletic director at Lancaster High and he was up on everything then like he is as an official,” Hazel said. “He does a steady, excellent job.”

Hudson’s resume also includes serving as an original member of the S.C. Football Officials Hall of Fame Committee. He also helped to establish guidelines for the S.C. Football Officials Scholarship program.

Hudson also serves in the Carolina Panthers’ game day crew at Bank of America Stadium during the NFL season.