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EAGLES DOMINATION OF NILES CONTINUES

MAHONING VALLEY SPORTS

HUBBARD, Ohio –

Niles started off throwing their best punch right to the chops of Hubbard much like they did a year ago at Bo Rein. After forcing a three and out on the Eagles’ opening drive of the night, a great return from Nathan Coots set the Red Dragons up with just 9 yards to pay dirt. After four straight gives to Antuan Gardner, the Niles star would finally find the endzone on his final attempt from two yards out to give the Dragons an early lead.

The two teams would swap three and outs before the Eagles would get the ball back at their own 15. Hubbard would march the ball down the field for their opening score with just over half of the second quarter clock remaining.

Hubbard’s defense would force a three and out on the ensuing Niles drive and get the ball back right around midfield. Fives plays later and the Eagles would take their first lead of the ballgame, one they’d never relinquish.

In a 2022 season filled with offensive woes for the Hubbard Eagles (6-3), the boys in blue topped 30 points for the first time all season in their 37-20 victory, a feat they accomplished 7 times just a year ago. One of the biggest proponents of the Eagles newfound success was a massive wrinkle thrown into the offense this week, scrapping the whole thing. Abandoning the wing-T and reverting to the more traditional Hoffman spread ground and pound with short passes off the run game, the Eagles were able to open the field and move the ball at will.

Although Hubbard’s offense was the main story of the night, the Eagles’ defensive effort shall not fall on deaf ears. The Hubbard defense held Niles to just 125 total yards and -12 rushing yards on 15 attempts, bottling up Gardner to -14 on the ground.

DUAL-THREAT HENDRIX

With the Eagles transitioning back into the spread, the offense has opened to allow for Hubbard’s senior signal caller, Nik Hendrix, to produce more with his legs. Hendrix tallied his highest rush total of the season with 70 yards, while also throwing for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 attempts. Hendrix also came up with an interception on the defensive side. As the Eagles head into next week against a vaunted South Range defense and into the postseason, look for Hendrix to continue to be more of a threat on the ground in addition to his talented arm.

THE STREAK

Hubbard’s 37-20 victory earned the Eagles their 16th straight victory over Niles in the series matchup. Head coach Brian Hoffman has never lost to the Red Dragons, holding a perfect 15-0record. Niles’ last victory over Hubbard came in 1995.

BIG PERFORMERS

HUBBARD: (3 penalties, 20 yards)

Nik Hendrix: 147 passing yards, 2 TDs, 70 rushing yards, 1 defensive INT

Garland Warren: 14 carries, 72 yards, 2 catches, 36 yards, 2 total TDs

Ben Wilcox: 80 total yards, 1 rushing TD

NILES: (9 penalties, 65 yards)

Nathan Coots: 1/1 26 passing yards, 4 catches 41 yards, 2 total TDs

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS

HUBBARD:

Thanks to their win over the Red Dragons, Hubbard has nearly secured their spot in the 2022 postseason. The victory bumped them up a few spots in the rankings and leaves them with a chance of grabbing a home game with a win over the South Range Raiders in week 10.

NILES:

Falling to the Eagles for their 7th loss of the season, the Red Dragons have been eliminated from playoff contention.

UP NEXT

Hubbard: Looking to ride the momentum of their win over the Red Dragons, the Eagles will play host next week to the top dogs of the NE8, the South Range Raiders (9-0). The Raiders hold the third longest regular season win streak in the state at 29 games, while the Eagles hold a 12-game winning streak at Hubbard Memorial Stadium. Hubbard’s last home loss came October 2nd of 2020, to none other than South Range.

Niles: Their postseason dreams now crushed after their loss to the Eagles, the Red Dragons will remain on the road and head to Arrowhead to take on the Girard Indians (6-3). Since 2004, these two teams have split their 18 matchups right down the middle at 9 apiece.

 

*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson

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