HUBBARD - Hubbard coach Brian Hoffman puts his team through a weight training program that he thoroughly believes in. So far it's proven to be successful, as the Eagles have made the playoffs every season since he's arrived.
And for further proof that Hoffman knows what he's talking about when it comes to his training program, look no further than senior running back Blake Novotny.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior, who has an offer to play at Youngstown State University next season, is a testament to what hard work off the field can do to breed success on it.
"He is a kid that's going to be a four-year letterman," Hoffman said. "I think that's mainly because of the way he progressed in our weight program. He has, in my opinion, a very strong work ethic in the weight room."
That work ethic matches his strength, as he has produced a 550-pound squat and 360-pound bench press while maintaining an impressive 4.6-second time in the 40-yard dash.
"I do a lot of work with jump stretch bands," Novotny said. "I think it's allowed me to maintain my speed while putting on muscle."
While his speed at that size certainly is an asset, Hoffman is most impressed with how he is able to combine both.
"He's just a strong kid with a strong work ethic," he said. "He's done some weight contests and done very well. You don't often see someone with his size have that kind of speed. He's going to be very good for us this year."
Novotny isn't just a running back, though. He also is an impressive linebacker who accumulated 158 tackles last season, 14 for loss, and eight sacks.
Not one to shy away from contact, Novotny also paves the way for the Eagles other running backs by lining up at fullback as well.
"I enjoy contact, I don't mind blocking at all," Novotny said. "I have some great running backs that like to follow me through the holes."
After Hubbard took a significant hit from graduation, Novotny is now the face of the football team, leading a group of tough, strong players that he says starts on the offensive line.
"I think we've got a big, strong offensive line this year," he said. "I think we've been looking pretty good and that line should help our running game a lot."
While the offer on the table from YSU is under consideration, Novotny says he's keeping his options open.
"I would like to get more (offers)," he said. "I'd like to go somewhere in the MAC (Mid-American Conference). But I have a lot of friends that go to YSU and like it. I'm definitely considering it, but there's still other schools that I'm looking at."
For the time being, all Novotny is worried about is getting the season started.
"We just got pads on and it's nice to start cracking again," he said.