Hubbard gains share of TAC championship
The Eagles dominated Girard, 56-28, on Senior Night at Memorial Stadium.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HUBBARD -- The Hubbard High football team gave its seniors something to covet in the home finale: lasting memories.
Friday's 56-28 victory over Girard on Senior Night at Memorial Stadium also gave the Eagles part of the Trumbull Athletic Conference championship.
But that's not all.
"We knew we had to get this game, not only for a share of the TAC, but we knew we needed it for the playoffs," Hubbard coach Jeff Bayuk said. "Our region is a bear."
Hubbard (8-0, 6-0) was ranked seventh in Division III Region 9 this week, with the top eight places qualifying for the playoffs. Every win is critical for the Eagles to advance.
That included Friday's TAC clash in which Hubbard dominated, taking a 28-6 halftime lead and cruising to victory.
"They made some big plays; we missed some tackles, and all of a sudden we were down 28-6 at half," Girard coach Bud McSuley said. "You can't give those guys any edge."
That edge was generated by Hubbard's offense, keyed by impressive performances from senior Ben Lane and junior Tony Giancola, who each scored three touchdowns.
"Our offensive line really does a good job," Bayuk said. "They talk about lunch buckets and hard hats when they come to practice. We're real proud of the work they do."
Lane broke sizable runs en route to 179 yards on 10 carries. He scored on first-half runs of 41 and 40 yards and on a 12-yard reception.
"He really broke out as a runner tonight. That's the best running performance he's had," Bayuk said. "His dad [Garcia Lane] was here watching him, and I know [Ben] was real excited about that."
Giancola breaks out, too
With the 5-foot-11, 240-pound Lane doing most of his damage in the first half, Giancola was taking over in the second, as he finished the game with 286 yards on 14 carries (20.4 average).
"Is that all?" Bayuk joked.
Giancola scored on second-half runs of 87, 75 and 37 yards while playing with an undisclosed injury.
"Tony's been banged up for the last four weeks, and he just keeps coming and coming," Bayuk said.
Hubbard senior quarterback Bryan Boyce ran the offense efficiently while taking advantage of open field. He added 75 yards on seven carries, including a 27-yard touchdown run, while also throwing for two touchdowns -- 11 yards to senior Todd Coonce to open the scoring and 12 yards to Lane.
"A lot of good things happened here tonight," Bayuk said.
Behind an aerial attack led by senior quarterback Bobby Ovesny, Girard (6-3, 3-3) did its best to match Hubbard. Ovesny completed 28-of-48 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns -- both to senior Ryan Collins.
Ovesny's top receiver was senior Ryan Tolone, who had 10 catches for 125 yards. Junior Brett Dutton added touchdown runs of 6 and 3 yards for the Indians.
"Our kids kept fighting. We kept coming back," McSuley said. "We're not the biggest, fastest or strongest, but our kids give a lot of heart and effort. They just have to make plays when we call their number."
Hubbard can win the TAC outright next week when it travels to Brookfield. A loss would give Liberty (8-1, 5-1) the opportunity to gain a share.
"We didn't have a lot of people picking us to win the league," Bayuk said. "We're just real proud to be where we're at right now."