Big Red up next for hard-hitting Hubbard defense
By Dan Hiner
The Hubbard offense has gained a lot of attention over the course of the season. But while the Eagles’ offense has been in the spotlight, the defense was quietly becoming one of the best in the area.
The Eagles have allowed 10.7 points per game and had a four-game shutout streak in the regular season which was snapped in a 26-21 loss to East in Week 10.
“The news and everyone was talking about how we had such a great offense. They never talked about the defense,” senior defensive end Mark Jones said. “We knew we had to come out and set the tone and show we had a good defense too.”
Hubbard likes to start on defense if they win the toss. The Eagles want to set the tone defensively and let the offense go to work later.
Senior safety Jamie Thomson said the offense and defense work well together. One needs to other to succeed.
“We had four or five shutouts in a row, but the offense puts up 63 points ... helps us out a lot,” Thomson said. “It’s easy to put teams down. Without our high-scoring offense, our defense wouldn’t be as good but it always helps.”
The Eagles have allowed more than 26 points in a game once this season, a 48-32 win over Girard in Week 2.
Despite the solid numbers, the Eagles’ defense hasn’t played perfectly. Senior linebacker Lukas Mosora said there’s been some communication issues on the field in the last two games — the loss to East and a 51-21 win over Indian Creek.
Hubbard’s defense will be put to the test on Saturday when the Eagles play Steubenville in a second-round game in Division IV, Region 13. The Eagles haven’t played in a regional final since 2013.
It’s the first meeting between the two teams since 2002. Hubbard traveled to Steubenville for a first-round playoff game, but lost 20-7.
Hubbard expects to see a lot of running plays from the Big Red.
Junior running back Tayveon Crawford has 1,599 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns this season, including 185 yards and three touchdowns against Akron Buchtel last week in a 38-13 win.
The Big Red (10-1) lost their first game of the season 21-14 to Penn Hills (Pa.), but won nine straight to end the regular season.
For Hubbard, Steubenville’s loss in Week 1 means the Big Red aren’t the machine that many have been in the past.
“I think there’s a little bit of a mystique out there [about] Steubenville. The big, bad Big Red ... nobody can stop ‘em,” Mosora said. “That’s not even the sense here.
“We’re coming in thinking 100 percent that they’re not gonna score on us, we’re gonna put up as many points as we want and we just have to come out and play a perfect game if we want to answer that call.”