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Hubbard's offense rallies, beats Howland, 22-14

September 21, 2013
By MATTHEW PEASLEE - Tribune Chronicle (mpeaslee@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

HUBBARD - The Hubbard Eagles rushed for 143 yards in the second half of Friday's game with Howland.

L.J. Scott didn't touch the ball once.

The highly touted junior running back was sidelined after halftime due to nagging injury problems. No problem for the Eagles offense, though.

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Sophomore George Hill ran 14 times for a total of 170 yards and senior Darnell Tate added 41 yards on five carries. Each playmaker scored a touchdown in Hubbard's come-from-behind, 22-14 win over the Tigers.

"We're glad to be 4-0. We knew coming into this week that it was the meat of our season," Hubbard coach Brian Hoffman said.

The Eagles play unbeaten Struthers next week, Brookfield in Week 6, Niles in Week 7 and unbeaten Poland in Week 8.

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Tribune Chronicle / Michael Taylor
Hubbard’s George Hill (4) tries to leap over Howland’s T.K. Fortson, bottom, but Fortson just gets Hill by the foot to bring down the Hubbard running back. The Eagles won, 22-14, on Friday night. Hill finished with 170 yards.

"We know every team wants to knock us off," junior Tyle Taafe said. "We just have to come out and know that we have to hold our spot."

They nearly lost it in the first quarter against Howland.

On the?Eagles first possession, Tigers defender T.K. Fortson recovered a fumble on a snap that sailed over the head of quarterback Brennan Wassil. Four sets later, after Howland went up 7-0 on a Jaquore Marrs touchdown run, Tre Bryarly had an interception (his third in two games), which also was the Tigers' 15th forced turnover in 14 quarters.

Bryarly returned the pick 53 yards to the end zone, putting them up 14-0, though it was their last score. Hubabrd was penalized three times for 25 yards on those first few drives - twice for holding and once for delay of game.

"The only thing I'm dissapointed in is the first-quarter miscues," Hoffman said. "We cleaned it up and I'm pleased with the direction we were headed."

Scott rumbled for a 3-yard touchdown on the Eagles' next possession and finished with 74 yards on 15 carries in just 24 minutes. Hill turned lose early in the third quarter and scored on a 61-yard run to tie it with 7:19 left in the third quarter.

"Thinking about L.J. being out and knowing we had to step up as a team, knowing that we worked hard all summer, that's what inspired us," Hill said. "We went through so much just to get here. "Our team played as a team. I give it all to the linemen. Without them, we're nothing. I believed in them and they believed in me."

Tate scored on the next possesion from 24 yards out. Wassil finished 4 of 7 passing for 25 yards.

"They have a stable backfield with guys to get the ball to," Howland coach Dominic Menendez said. "When you're going against those kind of skill guys you have to be on your toes at any point of the game and be ready for whoever is back there."

Though he didn't see game action in the final 24 minutes, Scott was still a vocal leader on the sidelines and was walking swiftly.

"He's got a sprain and it just materialized and tightened up on him," Hoffman said. "We made a decision to just keep running with George and Darnell Tate. We didn't miss a beat."

Taafe tackled Howland quarterback Ross Griffin in his own end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter. Junior linebacker David Margala had two sacks of Griffin, who was 5 of 7 for 56 yards in his first full game back after being injured in the first quarter in Week 1. Marrs finished with 186 yards on 31 carries.