Eagles fly past Girard
Hubbard holds on in back-and-forth battle
In an early-season showdown Friday night at Hubbard, both the Eagles and Girard responded positively to adversity, but Hubbard had the better response in the second half and defeated the Indians, 48-32.
Hubbard jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half before Girard (1-1) responded to cut the deficit to 21-20 at halftime. The Eagles (2-0) made their response in the second half, outscoring the Indians, 27-12.
“I just told the team I couldn’t be prouder of a group of guys. They were tested at halftime. Yeah, we still held the lead, but mentally, they had to respond,” Hubbard coach Brian Hoffman said. “We challenged them at halftime and said this is a team that’s not about one guy or two guys. Other guys have got to step up in the locker room and come out and play their best ball.”
The Eagles got plenty of big plays from a variety of players on both sides of the ball, but senior quarterback Davion Daniels was the key. He rushed 26 times for 255 yards, including touchdown runs of 64 and 55 yards in the first half.
Daniels completed all eight passes he attempted, including touchdown passes of 29 yards to JayQuan Odem on a shovel pass and another in the fourth quarter into the end zone to Sam Mauck from 21 yards out.
“He is a tremendous high school football player,” Hoffman said. “Anybody that is not looking to recruit him is out of their mind.”
Daniels may have been looked at as the second-best quarterback in the game at the start, but he compared favorably to Girard’s four-year starter, Mark Waid.
Waid had his usual great numbers, rushing 29 times for 197 yards and completing 23 of 31 passes for 251 yards, but he was picked off three times, including a key turnover at the start of the fourth quarter.
Odem’s shovel pass touchdown opened the scoring. He took the forward flip from Daniels on a jet sweep and went down the right sideline for the TD at the 8:22 mark of the first quarter. After Girard was stopped on downs inside the Hubbard 10, Rafael Morales ran for 32 yards and Daniels followed with his 64-yard TD jaunt at the 4:30 mark. He added his 55-yard score on a bootleg on the first play of the second quarter, putting Hubbard ahead 21-0.
“Really proud of us coming back. That’s an explosive team over there, they do a great job and we knew we had our hands full,” Girard coach Pat Pearson said. “They came out swinging and our kids battled back. I’m proud of how we played.
“I wish we had come out in the second half a little bit better.”
Girard’s comeback began after Hubbard squandered a chance to increase the lead to 28-0. Daniels fumbled at the Girard 28, and Jack DelGarbino recovered for the Indians.
“We had a chance toward the middle of the second quarter to maybe go up 28-0, and we fumbled the ball and let them get right back in the game,” Hoffman said. “But you know what, we responded, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Waid drove the Indians 73 yards in nine plays, hitting Nick Malito for a 16-yard touchdown on a post pattern with 5:33 left in the half.
The Girard defense stuffed Hubbard and forced a punt from near the goal line. Robert Dolwick blocked the punt for the Indians, and Marco Donatelli recovered in the end zone.
The Indians later put together another lengthy drive, getting the ball on their own 21 with 2:05 remaining and scoring nine plays later on a 25-yard pass from Waid to Terrance Davis with 5 seconds remaining in the half.
However, Bailey McDermott’s extra point kick was blocked, leaving Hubbard ahead 21-20.
Hubbard came out in the second half and re-established control, going 79 yards in eight plays to score on a 22-yard run by Odem around the left end. Girard put together another long drive, going 84 yards in 12 plays and scoring at 4:17 on a 7-yard run by Waid. Hubbard’s Mark Jones stuffed the Indians’ two-point conversion run, leaving the Eagles ahead 28-26.
With Daniels off the field, junior Cam Resatar came in at quarterback for Hubbard and connected with Jermia Harris on a screen pass that turned into a 50-yard scoring play.
Three plays later, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Waid tried to complete a pass left-handed while being pressured, and Hubbard’s Jamie Thomson picked it off.
That set up Hubbard in Girard territory, and Daniels returned to the game and connected with Sam Mauk on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 9:04 left. That made the score 42-26, and after another short scoring run by Waid, Daniels clinched the win with his own 1-yard TD.
Hoffman thinks the Eagles will have an edge throughout the season with superior depth.
“Resatar coming off the sidelines and making a play that required poise and confidence, and then iced the game with the interception at the end,” Hoffman said, giving one of many examples of the variety of contributions the Eagles received.
“I really do feel good about our depth. Going into the game I really believe we had a bit of a depth advantage,” he added. “I feel we have about 25 or 26 guys who can play on Friday night, and we’re not going to miss a beat. Some of those guys had to step in tonight and make plays. Guys were making key plays for us all over the field.”