NILES, OH- The Eagles (5-2) stumbled into Bo Rein Stadium off a last-second loss to the Girard Indians (5-2). After dropping the season opener at Mount Union to Alliance (4-3) 13-17, Hubbard was able to rally off five straight wins, most notably beating Howland (4-3) 22-16 in overtime, as well as Struthers (5-2) 22-16 on the road in week 4, before losing last week on a last-second field goal that put Girard ahead 16-14 with just four seconds remaining. On the other side of the field, the hosting Niles Red Dragons (5-2) also came into tonight off a loss. After winning their first four games of the season, the Dragons got handled by the Poland Bulldogs (5-2) at home 31-7, before squeaking out a victory against South Range (4-3) in overtime 35-34, then got blown out on the road against Struthers, 42-14.
The Niles Red Dragons were the first to draw blood on their senior night. After a halfback wheel from junior Quarterback Zack Leonard to senior running back David Mays, paired with the yardage of a horse collar penalty to put the Red Dragons in striking position, junior Kicker Chase Sudzina would put one through the uprights from 34 yards out, giving Niles a 3-0 lead. The ensuing Eagle possession would result in their third straight three and out to open the game. But after a muffed punt from the Red Dragons, the Eagles offense suddenly had life. Taking over at the Red Dragon 45 yard-line, the Eagles drove down the field in 11 plays and would cap off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run from junior back-up Quarterback Kobe Krisuk, putting the Eagles in front 7-3 after the extra point from junior Chase Powell with a little more than 2 minutes left in the first quarter. A missed field goal for Hubbard and a Niles take away in Eagle territory would highlight the rest of the first half. With a little under a minute left, the Red Dragons were unable to score despite taking over at the Hubbard 32 yard-line, keeping the score 7-3 at the break.
The Red Dragons opened the second half with the ball. After a good kick return, and a first down, Niles was knocking on Hubbard’s 40-yard line. The Red Dragon’s drive would stale after Leonard missed his receiver Sudzina open twice on the same playback to back. Hubbard would take over at their own 34-yard line and took no time to pick up where they left off. For the Eagles, the Quarterback run proved killer as they dominated the line of scrimmage, and consistently let the play clock roll all the way down to just 8 seconds remaining. Hubbard needed only 9 plays and a little under 4 minutes to get all the way into the red zone before capping off their drive with a 2 yard TD run from senior Tommy Wess on the final score of the night to extend the Eagles lead, 14-3.
Kobe Krisuk used tonight as a showcase for what is to come next season with senior Cameron Resatar graduating. Krisuk, filling in for the injured Resatar, finished the night with 117 yards rushing on 31 carries. Krisuk also would add 6 completion on 11 attempts for 58 yards through the air. Hubbard improves to (6-2) and will host the Poland Bulldogs at home next week in a battle atop Region 13. Niles (5-3) looks to bounce back next week against the struggling Lakeview Bulldogs on the road.
*Story contributed by YSN’s Jamie Thomson