METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE Eagles' romp over Struthers is the first in Bayuk's era
Hubbard's Anthony Smith rushed for 128 yards. East Liverpool won easily at Salem.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
HUBBARD -- Many years of demons were exorcised at Eagle Stadium Friday night when the Hubbard High football team defeated visiting Struthers 34-0 in a non-conference game.
The Eagles (3-0) rushed for 287 yards, including 128 by Anthony Smith, to defeat the Wildcats at home for the first time in Coach Jeff Bayuk's 11 years.
Smith, who is being recruited by a number of Division I-A schools, scored two touchdowns in the second half and also returned an interception 93 yards late in the first half.
Dominated series: Struthers had won 20 of the previous 22 games between the rivals.
"A telling factor is that we've gotten to the point where our offensive linemen don't have to go both ways," Bayuk said. "That means we're awfully fresh late in the game.
"I think we improved more on defense tonight," Bayuk added. "That's the area we've been trying to concentrate on."
Jarod Jordan rushed for 76 yards, all in the first half, and scored the game's first touchdown.
"They were really concentrating on [Anthony Smith]," Bayuk said, "and that opened up some holes for Jordan."
But it was on defense that Smith made the key play.
Struthers drove to the Eagles' 25, facing second down and 10.
Quarterback Nick Leiter threw late and high over the middle, and Smith, playing free safety, made the interception at his 7. He had a wide-open field, punctuated by several broken tackles and didn't stop until he lay, exhausted, in the end zone.
"That was the most phenomenal play I've seen in 21 years of coaching," Bayuk said. "It takes a real special athlete to make a play like that."
Field position: Struthers enjoyed good field position for much of the first half; their average starting yard line was their own 45.
But twice, the Wildcats were stopped inside the Eagles' 25.
The first time, Mike Flaugher stuffed Leiter at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-1 from the 21.
Then came Smith's game-turning interception.
"Not converting on those chances hurt," Wildcats coach Gary Zetts said, "and it didn't help that we lost two linemen [to injuries].
"But, I don't know if one play beat us. A lot of mistakes, nothing but mistakes, did."
The Eagles' first scoring drive covered 90 yards and consumed 12 plays and almost 51/2 minutes. It featured Jordan, who carried six times for 54 yards, including a 42-yard scamper to the Struthers 6.
Three plays later, Jordan followed a big hole over the right side of the line for the score.
East Liverpool 42, Salem 8: SALEM -- Senior Stefan White ran 10 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns to lead East Liverpool's rout of Salem.
White scored on touchdown runs of 52, 53 and 5 yards, respectively, as the Potters (3-0) took a 28-0 halftime lead. Senior Seth Birch's 38-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Matt Skrinjar accounted for the other first-half touchdown.
Skrinjar completed 7-of-12 passes for 88 yards while senior receiver Brett Green caught four passes for 31 yards.
Salem quarterback Landen Heath completed 2-of-10 passes for 78 yards, with one interception.
The Quakers (1-2) scored in the fourth quarter on Lance Buckley's 8-yard run.
White was joined by backfield mate, junior Bennie Carter, who carried 11 times for 100 yards.
Ken Buckley led Salem's rushing attack with 13 carries for 41 yards.
East Liverpool kicker John Twyford was 6-for-6 on point-after attempts.