By greg gulas
You have to go back to the 2006 season to find the last time the Hubbard Eagles defeated the Poland Bulldogs.
Almost single-handedly, Poland running back Ross Gould set out to make sure that the Bulldogs’ win streak remained intact.
The diminutive Gould rushed for 208-yards and three touchdowns while the Bulldogs’ defense held the Eagles to just 179 total yards as Poland stopped Hubbard, 28-6, Friday in an All-American Conference, American Division clash at Dave Pavlansky Field.
It was the sixth consecutive win for Poland as they have now outscored their league counterparts by a 153-84 count.
“From the offensive line to the running backs to the wide receivers, everyone made sure that whoever had the ball tonight had a nice hole to run through. Rushing for 200 yards really surprised me, but the numbers we put up as a team offensively was not a surprise,” the 5-foot-5 Gould said. “Without a doubt, this was the best game that we played overall this season.”
The Bulldogs (5-3, 3-2) racked up 288 yards with all but three coming on the ground.
After Poland forced a three-and-out on Hubbard’s first series of the game, Gould raced 40 yards for the game’s first score just two plays into their initial series for a 7-0 lead.
When Mike Turnbull scored from a yard out at the 1:52 mark, the Bulldogs built a 14-0 cushion after the first 12 minutes of play. Hubbard’s Brandon Harb scored from a yard away at 8:40 of the second period, but the failed placement left the Eagles with a 14-6 deficit.
Gould’s second touchdown, a 5-yard run at the 2:18 mark of the period enabled the Bulldogs to increase their margin to 21-6.
On the final series of the opening half, Hubbard (5-3, 1-3) took over on its 42-yard line and after Harb hit Larry Scott for a 45-yard gain, the Eagles had a first-and-goal from the Bulldogs’ 2.
Two rushing plays gained just one yard and false start put the ball just outside the 5. Harb’s pass fell incomplete on fourth down.
“All week long our coaching staff let us know that this was a must-win game. Our seniors realize that it is do-or-die the rest of the way,” Poland defensive end Alex Hubbel stated.
Poland coach Mark Brungard noted that while a 7-3 record is no guarantee for a team to make the play-offs, a 6-4 mark would more in likely result in a team being left on the outside looking in come play-off time.
“From here on out every game is a must-win game for us,” Brungard said. “Today’s game was a must-win, as is next week’s game and the final regular season game in two weeks.”
Gould ran for a 67-yard TD on the first play of the second half.
“They [Poland] got off to a fast start, ran the ball effectively and unfortunately we didn’t have an answer defensively,” Eagles coach Brian Hoffman said.