Former opponents get together for win

Two All-American Conference standout linemen, LaBrae’s Xavier Hubbard and Brookfield’s Carmen Furillo, played their final high school game in Friday night’s 33rd annual Jack Arvin Football Classic in Hubbard. The two Trumbull County players helped their squad defeat the Mahoning/Columbiana squad, 20-7.

“It means a lot. It means I’ve been working hard and I am where I am,” Hubbard said of playing in the game.

Furillo added, “It’s nice to represent your school and your town, get to meet different guys from different schools is kind of cool. I know some of them just from talking on social media and all that, but yeah, it’s kind of cool.”

Furillo helped paved the way for an 89-yard rushing performance by former Warren G. Harding standout Lynn Bowden, who also threw for 155 yards and a pair of scores in the win. As for Hubbard, his Trumbull defensive line had three sacks and allowed barely positive rushing yards, while keeping Mahoning/Columbiana out of the end zone.

For Hubbard, it’s not the first time he’s been part of a dominating defensive line. His LaBrae Vikings made back-to-back postseason appearances his final two years, and part of the credit goes to a big and physical defensive line that made it nearly impossible for opponents to run the ball.

The 6-foot-3, 275 pound Hubbard’s hard work certainly paid off throughout his Viking career, and so much so that he was able to earn a scholarship to play football at the University of Akron this fall.

“I really don’t know (what to expect),” Hubbard said, laughing. “I’m just gonna go out there and try to give it all I have. I felt like if it wasn’t for my team (LaBrae), I wouldn’t be great.”

On the opposite side of the trenches, there’s Furillo. Furillo was an AAC standout the past few years, and even started as a freshman. His Brookfield Warriors were coming off of a postseason appearance in 2015, but it was not meant to be in 2016.

The Warriors went 7-3 — including a 20-14 Week 8 loss to Hubbard’s Vikings. Despite not being able to match the success of the previous season, in which the Warriors won 10 games and had a playoff win over Lisbon, Furillo still views his senior season as a success.

“My teammates at Brookfield, you couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. (I’ve been) playing with them since I was 5, 6 years old,” Furillo said. “I thought it was a lot more successful year than our record showed, we built a lot of chemistry.

“I guess you could say our team was below average when it came to size, but we proved we had a lot of heart. (Just) 16 points (combined margin of defeat) in three games that we lost. You can’t ask for a better group of guys.”