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EAGLES SPREAD THEIR WINGS IN OVERTIME

MAHONING VALLEY SPORTS

HUBBARD, Ohio – In a matchup dating back to 1916, the Hubbard Eagles (4-1) played host to the Struthers Wildcats (1-4) in an NE8 Conference matchup. Both teams entered the night coming off loses to start conference play, the Wildcats a 13-23 defeat to the defensing champion South Range Raiders, while Hubbard saw themselves lose a second half lead to the Poland Bulldogs 21-28.

The Hubbard offense seemed to have picked up where it last left off in Poland, on a bad note. Of the Eagles five first half possession, the boys in blue were forced to punt four times with two three-and-outs. The only score of the first half would come from a Struthers punt return by senior Alec Grzyb from fifty-two-yards out.

After forcing the Wildcats to go three-and-out to open the second half, the Hubbard offense finally showed signs of life. Starting their initial drive of the second half at their own twenty-nine-yardline, the Eagles would chew up over seven and a half minutes of the third quarter clock. The fifteen play, seventy-one-yard drive would be capped by a Ben Wilcox touchdown run from two yards out, giving Hubbard their first lead of the night, 7-6.

The ensuing Struthers drive would see the Wildcats go for and convert on fourth down at the Hubbard thirty-five-yard line before turning the ball over on downs just four plays later at the Hubbard twenty-four. Five plays later with the Eagles driving, senior quarterback, Nik Hendrix, would find Xander Owens out of the backfield for a nineteen-yard gain before Struthers’ sophomore linebacker, Devin Braham, would rip the ball away from Owens to force a turnover.

Despite the shift in momentum, the Wildcats would make a few mistakes on their next drive and would again have to punt the ball away. After a poor punt would give Hubbard possession at their own forty, Wilcox would take the handoff on the first play of the drive fifty yards into Wildcats territory. Just two plays later, Wilcox would find pay dirt from one yard out for his second touchdown of the night and extend the Hubbard lead to 8.

Struthers needed little to no time to strike back. On just the second play of the ensuing drive Na’jier Howard would connect with Nico Farina twenty-two yards down the middle of the field, and Farina would do the rest with his legs for a sixty four yard touchdown. The Wildcats would go for two and convert on an Alec Grzyb to Chaz Ekoniak connection, knotting things up at 14.

Hubbard would set themselves up with great field positioning thanks to a fifty-five-yard Royal McConahy kick return. The Eagles would pick up a first down, before stalling out and leaving their freshman kicker with a thirty-five-yard field goal to win the game. Unfortunately for the young special teamer, a low snap never gave the Eagles a chance to walk it off in regulation as the kick would be blocked.

Heading into the first overtime series, Hubbard would start with the ball first. The Eagles needed just three plays to strike first in OT, Hendrix would find fellow senior tight end Mason Hodge from fifteen yards out. Struthers would fail to pick up a first down on their ensuing possession, their shot to the endzone on fourth and five would be hauled in but the receiver was out of bounds.

BIG PERFORMERS

HUBBARD:

Ben Wilcox: 20 carries, 104 rushing yards, 2 TDs

Nik Hendrix: 6-12 passing, 73 yards, 1 TD

Mason Hodge: 1 catch, 15 yards, 1 TD

STRUTHERS:

Alec Grzyb: 56 passing yards, 33 rushing yards, 52-yard punt return TD

Na’jier Howard: 5-8 passing, 79 yards, 1 TD

UP NEXT

Hubbard: Following their first overtime victory since 2019, the Hubbard Eagles will hit the road for a huge test against the Jefferson Falcons (4-1). These two programs have faced off nine times in their history, the first coming in 2010. Hubbard has won the past seven matchups in a row and lead the all-time series 8-1 outscoring the Falcons by a total of 356-132 in those games.

Struthers: After suffering their second overtime loss of the season, the Wildcats will now head home to play host to the Lakeview Bulldogs (3-2).Since 2009, Struthers leads the series 8-7 and have won the past four straight matchups by a combined 113 points.

*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson

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