The Bulldogs had all the statistics, but the Eagles made the big plays.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
POLAND -- Poland and Hubbard were both smarting from opening season losses last week so there was little doubt that Friday night's matchup between the two proud football programs could be a classic.
The game was all that and more as the Eagles held off a late rally to defeat the Bulldogs, 29-24.
Poland (0-2) held the statistical edge but Hubbard (1-1) made the big plays and took advantage of two Bulldogs' turnovers to pull out the road victory.
"It was a great high school football game," said Hubbard coach Jeff Bayuk. "I gotta think if you were a fan just coming to watch a football game this was the game to come and see.
"It was back and forth. Lots of big plays and two teams just fighting not to be 0 and 2."
Eagles score quickly
The action started quickly with Hubbard scoring on the third play of the game on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Marc Kanetsky to Mike Carnahan and didn't end until Poland quarterback Chris Lovell misfired on a fourth down pass play with 50 seconds remaining in the game.
"We had times of momentum but we just couldn't capitalize on them," said Poland coach Mark Brungard.
Poland trailed by 12 points, 29-17, late in the third quarter after Hubbard's Steve Cinicola scored on a pair of runs in the period and the Eagles looked like they might have the game under control heading for the final 12 minutes.
Both scores were set up by the two Poland turnovers.
Poland, however, had other thoughts and got back in the game on its next possession after a great catch by Jason Simons for a 43-yard gain down to the Hubbard 15-yard line.
Poland back in game
The Bulldogs scored five plays later on a 6-yard run and Ryan Gills' place kick cut the lead to 29-24.
On Hubbard's next drive, Mitch Baird intercepted Kanetsky and returned it 12 yards to the Eagles' 20.
Hubbard's defense stiffened and Gill missed a 42-yard field goal with 7:44 remaining.
After that Poland was stopped in two late possessions and Hubbard came away with the win.
"Right after the Baird interception they turned us away and that was a key point in the game," Brungard said. "We have a lot of young players that haven't been through a situation like that and so they all have to learn to focus through to the end of the game."
The teams scored 31 points in the first half and Hubbard grabbed the 17-14 lead late in the second period when John Madeline returned a punt 36 yards to the Poland 1.
Joel Younkins scored on the next play and Hubbard regained the momentum heading into the second half.
"We try to capitalize on peoples' mistakes because high school football is a game of momentum," Bayuk said. "Every time there was a big play tonight, the other side of the ball played great."
Poland held a 318-to-204 total yards advantage in the game.
Lovell completed 8-of-17 passes for 136 yards. Running back Carl Davanzo rushed for 95 yards in 15 carries.
Kanetsky completed 6-of-10 passes for 165 yards.