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Big second half leads Hubbard over Niles

October 12, 2013
By JOHN VARGO - Tribune Chronicle (jvargo@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

HUBBARD - Kyle Paden rushed from 2 yards out to close the gap to three points, but the Niles quarterback, nor his teammates, could envision the onslaught that would ensue early in the third quarter.

Hubbard scored 35 unanswered points to roll past the Red Dragons Friday at Hubbard Memorial Stadium, 59-21.

Hubbard had 38 carries for 564 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. L.J. Scott led the way with 21 carries for 203 yards and three scores.

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Darnell Tate had three carries for 122 yards and a touchdown, while George Hill added four carries for 93 yards and a TD. Quarterback Brennan Wassil had five carries for 86 yards - including a 50-yard TD run.

"It starts with the guys up front, they did a nice job - pass protecting and run blocking tonight," Hubbard coach Brian Hoffman said. "Like I told the guys, when you put up 59 points against a good team and a good program, I'm very happy about the progress in that manner."

The Eagles (7-0), the third-ranked team in the state in Division III, held Niles to 300 yards, but 25 carries for 28 yards. Corey Hayes paced the Red Dragons (3-4) with eight carries for 27 yards.

"Defensively, we gave up 21 points," Hoffman said. "With the weapons they have, I was pretty pleased with that. We created some turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. We have some things we need to clean up before we get into our game next week against, obviously, a tough Poland club."

Paden was 26 of 41 for 272 yards with a TD and three interceptions - two by Hubbard's Isiah Scott.

Paden was 17 of 19 for 107 yards at halftime with two interceptions. Hoffman said Niles upped its pass defense after intermission.

"We tried to make some adjustments in the second half," Hoffman said. "We tried to get a little bit more heat on him, make him adjust his throws a little bit. We were a little better at it in the first half than we were in the second half."

Niles came out to start the second half with the aforementioned score with 9:44 left in the third quarter, closing the Hubbard lead to 24-21. The Red Dragons' drive was highlighted by a 38-yard reception by Marcus Hill, who led Niles with nine catches for 137 yards. Hill dove near the Hubbard 40 and somehow hauled in a acrobatic one-handed reception.

That said, Niles coach Brian Shaner, whose team hosts Howland next Friday, knows what kind of team his Red Dragons played Friday.

"We just have to keep working hard," Shaner said. "Seniors, you have three more weeks. What are you going to do with it? Our kids never quit. You know Niles kids are going to play hard each and every week.

"Hubbard is a great team. They're not ranked that high in the state for no reason. We gave them our best. They're just a very talented football team."

The Eagles, who host Poland next Friday, know they can't have 17 penalties for 157 yards like they did against Niles.

"Not happy at all," Hoffman said. "Some of those were part of the game, holding calls and things. Some of the other calls, we need to control that. Believe me, we're going to atone for that as we prepare for Poland."

For Hubbard, all eyes are on the fifth-ranked team in Division III - Poland (7-0), which beat Howland on Friday.

"We just have to prepare well and play our best game," Hoffman said.