Hubbard will be a defensive force in Region 9 this season

Image

Hubbard Eagles

In head coach Brian Hoffman’s first year at the helm of his alma mater, Hubbard reached the postseason but bowed out in the first round.

This season, the Eagles return a flock of talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, which should give them a good chance for a longer playoff run.



Hubbard (7-4)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FS/RB Sam Bellino (5-10, 180, Sr.), LB/OL Cody Kilar (6-2, 225, Sr.), LB/RB Bobby Thompson (6-0, 195, Sr.), LB/WR Cory Farcas (6-2, 200, Sr.), LB/RB Dashawn Liranzo (5-11, 205, Sr.), RB/LB Tim Shiraldi (5-11, 195, Jr.), RB/LB Blake Novotny (6-2, 200, Jr.), WR/DB Andrew Zitnik (5-10, 165, Jr.), OL/DL Dom Dionisio (6-3, 275, Jr.), OL/DL Rob Lias (6-1, 200, Sr.), C Matt Minotti (6-1, 275, Sr.), OL/DL Zach Lord (6-5, 260, Sr.), QB/DB Matt Shelton (6-2, 180, Jr.), QB Matt Lopuchovsky (6-2, 215, Jr.), RB Andre Givens.

SEASON OUTLOOK

In head coach Brian Hoffman’s first year at the helm of his alma mater, Hubbard reached the postseason but bowed out in the first round.

This season, the Eagles return a flock of talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, which should give them a good chance for a longer playoff run. With 10 starters back on defense, Hubbard will be strongest at the linebacker positions in a new 3-5 defense.

“Defensively is where we are going to build our team from,” Hoffman said. “I feel good about our defense.”

Kilar, who is a Division I college prospect, is will anchor that new defensive scheme at linebacker. Thompson, Farcas and Liranzo will start in the middle with Kilar.

Shiraldi started six games last year.

“Defensively, I think our strength is at linebacker but I also think our secondary has as good of speed as anyone we’ll see,” said Hoffman.

Bellino, who missed significant time last year with a knee injury, will start at free safety. Givens and Zitnik will start alongside Bellino.

Dionisio and Lias started all 11 games on the defensive line last year.

“We’re going to have to find some guys to help us out on the defensive line,” Hoffman said.

On offense, Hubbard is faced with the challenge of filling the big shoes three-year starter and school career passing leader Marc Kanetsky left behind at quarterback. Bellino, Shelton and Lopuchovsky are in the in running for the starting spot.

“They each bring their own flare to the table,” Hoffman said. “(Lopuchovsky) is more of a pocket-passer, (Bellino) is somebody that has a little more elusiveness.”

Minotti is a two-year starter on the offensive line, Dinisio played every down on offense last year and Lord started six games but there are some question marks on upfront and Hoffman is concerned with how quickly the new line will gel early on.

Kilar will move from fullback to the offensive line.

Givens is one of the top backs in the Youngstown area.

“Our success is going to be contingent upon how well some of these new guys step in and pick up our offensive system,” he said.

Hubbard will be competing in the new All-American Conference following the merger of the Trumbull Athletic Conference and Metro Athletic Conference and will face a tough new schedule.

“We are going to face the toughest schedule Hubbard has faced in about 15 years. There are no weak spots on our schedule and every week is going to be a test,” said Hoffman.

SCHEDULE

8/21 at Poland Seminary

8/30 at Warren JFK

9/5 Warren Howland

9/12 Salem

9/19 at Cortland Lakeview

9/26 at Brookfield

10/3 Youngstown East

10/10 Youngstown Liberty

10/17 Struthers

10/24 Niles McKinley

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *