Hubbard poised for fourth straight playoff berth


Hubbard Eagles

has been flying high since alumnus and third-year head coach Brian Hoffman took
over and the Eagles are looking to swoop into the playoffs for the fourth
straight season having only missed the playoffs twice since 1999.

Hubbard (9-3)

* Players to Watch
RB/DB Andre Givens (5-10, 180, Sr.), WR/ATH Kurtis Drummond (6-2, 190, Sr.), WR/DB Tommy Jackson (6-1, 160, Sr.),
QB/LB Matt Shelton (6-2, 175, Sr.), RB/LB Danny Duvall (5-7, 145, Jr.), RB/LB
Tim Shiraldi (6-0, 190, Sr.), WR/CB Chase Myers (6-0, 165, Sr.), OT/DE Dom
Dionisio (6-3, 270, Sr.)

Outlook – Hubbard
has been flying high since alumnus and third-year head coach Brian Hoffman took

The Eagles are looking to swoop into the playoffs for the fourth
straight season and have only missed the playoffs twice since 1999.

“I just really enjoy coaching at Hubbard High School,”
Hoffman said. “It has been a great experience having played there and now
having the opportunity to coach there. The community support has been
outstanding and the kids have been outstanding in their willingness to accept
us and to learn and to give their best efforts.

“It has been a real joy and hopefully we can continue that
path this season and stay safe and healthy.”

Hubbard will have the talent at the skill positions to get
them off the ground early.

Givens rushed for 1,433 yards and 18 touchdowns last season
and Drummond had 16 catches for 281 yards and four touchdowns. On defense, he
had 49 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions as a cornerback.

Givens is a Pittsburgh
verbal and Drummond has a number of scholarship offers in hand.

“(Givens and Drummond) are outstanding athletes but the
other guys are going to have to come together and elevate their games in order
for our team to continue to make strides this season,” said Hoffman.

“As a whole, we are returning quite a few players in the
skill positions.”

started six games under center in 2008 following the injury to then-senior Sam
Bellino but Myers will make his case for the job this season as well.

“I like what both (quarterbacks) bring to the table,” said
Hoffman. “That is definitely one of the areas we are going to be looking at
hard in the preseason. To be honest, the one that starts the first game will be
the one that shows me the most leadership and that is what we are looking
forward to.”

Dionisio will anchor the line on offense for the returning
skill positions.

“We feel good about building a line around Dom and feel we
have some underclassmen that will hopefully help us with that,” Hoffman said.

“Graduation is us hard with out offensive line and our linebacking
corps. We definitely have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball and
after some self analysis we may even be making a transition scheme-wise. We’re
going to take a look at that through camp and it may be a different look for us
defensively this year for us based upon what kids are able to do through the
training phases and once we start playing games.

“I think we definitely have our work ahead of us.”

Hubbard welcomes some strong programs into Region 9 with the
likes of Akron Hoban, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Parma Padua Franciscan and
Youngstown Cardinal Mooney form other Divisions following the OHSAA realignment
in July.

“The teams we have added into our region definitely make it
very challenging. It is going to make it that much more to get into the
playoffs,” Hoffman said. “I think the days of teams getting in at 7-3 are
pretty much over with.”

All-American Conference foe and Week 1 opponent Poland
Seminary also moves into Region 9 from Region 11. Poland handed Hubbard its only
regular season loss to the tune of 24-14 in the season opener.

“That game is definitely going to be pivotal for both teams
since we are both in the same region now,” Hoffman said. “A victory on either
side is going to go a long way for either side getting a chance to make it into
the postseason.

“We are going to have to make sure we take care of things on
our end and win our league games and ascertain as many points as we can to put
ourselves not only in position to make the playoffs but to host a game that
first round.”

Despite the hit Hubbard took to graduation, Hoffman feels
the recent success of the program has set the bar high for future players.

“Any time your team has an opportunity to get into the
playoffs and enjoy a little bit of success, I think that bodes well for the
next group through,” he said. “They have that winning tradition and they have
that mindset that is something they ant to strive for.”

“We did graduate an outstanding class and the biggest
challenge our coaching staff faces this year is turning the 2009 class into
leaders and they need to do that in the classroom and the football field.

“I feel like we have some athletes but that is only going to
take you so far. It comes down to all the other little clichés in football.”


27, Poland
Seminary, 7 p.m.

4, Warren JFK,
7 p.m.

11, at Ravenna
Southeast, 7 p.m.

18, at Salem, 7

25, Cortland
Lakeview, 7 p.m.

2, Brookfield,
7 p.m.

9, Youngstown
East, 7 p.m.

16, Youngstown Liberty, 7 p.m.

23, at Struthers, 7 p.m.

30, at Niles
McKinley, 7 p.m.


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