QB Waid leads Girard to big win against Hubbard

Tribune Chronicle / Eric Murray Girard’s team huddles prior to Friday’s game against Hubbard at Arrowhead Stadium in Girard.

GIRARD — Girard quarterback Mark Waid proved once again why he’s amongst the area’s best players.

His six-touchdown performance on Friday night helped push the Indians past the Hubbard Eagles, 39-28. Waid had two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to put Girard ahead for good.

“He’s a great player, but he’s becoming such a team guy, which is really amazing,” Girard coach Pat Pearson said of his quarterback. “It wasn’t about Mark Waid tonight, it was about helping the team win, and that’s all he wanted. He knows he’s gonna get the statistics, and that’s the nature of being a quarterback at Girard. The team rallies around him, and he rallies around the team.”

The Indians (2-0) faced a fourth-and-1 from their own 46 yard line, trailing 28-25 just moments into the fourth quarter. Waid kept it himself and went up the middle nearly untouched, racing to the end zone for what proved to be the go-ahead score.

Following a Hubbard punt, Waid needed just two plays to cover 94 yards. He rushed for seven yards on first down, and then went up the middle — much like the previous touchdown — and sprinted to the end zone from 87 yards out to give Girard an insurance score with 6:43 left in the game.

“Waid played a great game, he made big plays with his legs and those big plays — as soon as you get the momentum back your way, they get a big play and swing it back their way,” Hubbard coach Brian Hoffman said. “I’m proud of how we battled back, but we gotta finish.”

Girard raced out to a 25-6 lead in a penalty-filled first quarter. Waid rushed for two scores and threw his only two touchdown passes of the night — a 19-yarder to Nick Malito and a 16-yard screen to Mike Belcik.

However, Girard started each of those drives inside of Hubbard territory. Neither team managed much success in the second quarter, with Hubbard scoring on a Davion Daniels 1-yard touchdown with just 1:28 before halftime.

However, that score proved to be the momentum Hubbard (1-1) needed to get back in the ballgame, as mistakes now started to add up on Girard’s side. After Daniels was held in check to just 23 rushing yards at half, he showed in the third quarter that Waid wasn’t the only standout quarterback on the field.

Facing a second-and-7 at the Indians’ 29, Daniels dropped back, cut left and raced up the sidelines before diving into the end zone for the score. Daniels then capped off a nine-play, 93-yard drive with a 17-yard scamper to give the Eagles their first lead of the night, with just 1:01 left in the third quarter.

Daniels finished with 121 rushing yards in the quarter and 133 overall, but it was Waid who stole the spotlight. He rushed for 207 yards and four scores, while completing 17-of-26 passes for 185 yards and two more touchdowns.

For Girard, yet another impressive win is a confidence-builder for a team that has won just five games over the past two seasons. However, the Indians try to make an even bigger statement next Saturday when they travel to play defending Division VII state champion John F. Kennedy.

“It’s been a rough couple years, we’ve talked about this over and over — we’re done talking about it,” Pearson said. “But just being young, taking our lumps and growing — but really, the 2-0, it’s over with. We’re 0-0 this week. We’re gonna go play the defending state champion.

“For us, to get this program back where it needs to go, two wins doesn’t matter. Girard-JFK through the history is always an unbelievable game. There are a ton of things we gotta continue to get better with. We have to clean (up the penalties; 15 for 112 vs. Hubbard) because you get in big, close games, that can get you beat.”