Shaun Lane got the winning score and John Dominic followed it with a key sack to seal the Eagles' 21-14 win.
By GREG GULAS
LIBERTY -- Shaun Lane rushed for 269 yards and three touchdowns Friday, the last a 20-yard scamper on the first play of overtime, as the Hubbard Eagles toppled the Liberty Leopards, 21-14.
"Both teams really showed their character tonight," Hubbard coach Jeff Bayuk said. "It's good to get into these types of games because there is no better teacher than actual game experience.
"I felt we had our best week of practice, but played flat tonight," Bayuk said.
The win marked the 17th straight regular-season victory for the Eagles dating to the final two games of the 2000 campaign.
Hubbard improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Trumbull Athletic Conference while the Leopards, coming off an emotional win against Champion, fell to 3-2, 1-1.
80-yard TD run
After a scoreless first quarter, Lane broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run with 4:30 remaining before intermission. Chris Buccilli added the first of his three placements on the night to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Leopards took the ensuing kick-off, traveled 77 yards in eight plays capped by a Mike Marvin 3-yard run to knot the game at 7-7 heading into intermission.
"We have the ability to sustain drives," Liberty coach Jeff Whittaker said. "We told our players at the beginning of the week hat we don't doubt our ability, but we must find a way to finish strong.
"This is a young group that believes in themselves," Whittaker said. "They hang together, are very close and that chemistry will only produce good things down the road."
Wing-T offense jells
If anything, Liberty's wing-T offense had its way with the Hubbard defense a good portion of the night.
"This was the first time in a couple of years that I felt we might not win," Bayuk said. "If anything, I got rattled tonight. "When we got to overtime, however, our defense came up big with the game on the line."
Liberty's Steve Patterson gave Liberty a 14-7 lead when he scored from 22 yards out midway though the third quarter.
It marked the first time in 19 periods of play this season that the Eagles trailed in a game.
Lane, who averaged 12.2 yards per tote (he carried the ball 22 times on the night), tied the score 14-14 when he scored on a five-yard run just nine seconds into the final period.
A 33-yard field goal attempt by Buccilli with 1:02 remaining then fell short, marking the closest either team could get to scoring during the rest of regulation.
Lane, Dominic deliver
With the Eagles on offense first in the overtime session, Lane worked his magic once again by scoring from 20 yards out on the first play for a 21-14 Eagle lead.
Then on fourth and 13 from the 23-yard line for the Leopards, Hubbard's John Dominic sacked Liberty quarterback Brian Jones to seal the victory for the Eagles.
"They were a good team," Lane said of the Leopards. "They gave us plenty to handle both offensively and defensively tonight.
Hubbard rolled up 319 yards of total offense, 301 coming on the ground and 269 of that off of runs by Lane.
The Leopards on the other hand had 297 total offensive yards, 221 on the ground and the other 76 coming through the air. Marvin had 137 yards on 25 carries to pace Liberty.