It doesn’t matter to Hubbard if the Jags are at home, away or on the artificial turf in Navarro County.
There’s nothing artificial about the Jags.
Just ask Kerens’ talented and explosive team that fell to the Jags 50-20 Friday night in Corsicana’s Tiger Stadium, where Hubbard scored early and then used a smothering defense to race out to a 28-0 lead.
“Don’t let him tell you they’re lucky,’’ said Kerens coach Russell Anderson as he stood next to Hubbard’s Craig Horn moments after the game. “They’re not lucky. They’re a real good football team.’’
Who is going to argue with that?
Kerens may be good enough to win District 6-1A DII, but had to play catchup all night to Hubbard after Horn came to Corsicana with a pair of dice. He rolled them four plays into the game when — standing at his own 28 yard line — Horn went for it on a fourth-and-2 in the opening minutes.
Logan McClinton, who had been out with a hamstring, busted free on the right side for 14 yards, and Hubbard never stopped coming .
“I didn’t like the way we started on the first couple of plays,’’ Horn said. “And I wanted to set the tone for the game right there. We feel if we run certain plays we’re good enough to make three yards. No doubt about it, we’re going for it. We rolled the dice there and they came up 7 and 11.’’
Hubbard went for it later in the drive on a fourth-and-8 at Kerens 21.
No problem. Just let sophomore quarterback Braydyn Gillham take over. He did and tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Nick Johnson, and just-like-that it was 6-0.
Gillham had one of those unforgettable nights. The kid who was a backup just two weeks ago, threw three TD passes, including two to D’Warren Simmons, completed 7 of 8 passes for 123 yards and recovered two fumbles, including one for a 14-yard TD return.
“It’s kind of weird,’’ Gillham said. “You don’t see too many quarterbacks playing that much defense.’’
So what’s better, throwing a touchdown pass or returning a fumble for a touchdown.
“The touchdown passes,’’ said Gillham with a smile. “I know my receivers are going to go up and get it.’’
Simmons, who leads the Golden Circle in receptions, made two TD catches in the final minutes of the half, catching a short pass in the flat and busting free for a 15-yard catch and run TD with 4:38 left, and then he ran a perfect deep route and hauled in a 38-yard TD pass in the right corner of the end zone with 22 seconds left.
After that, Gillham handed the ball off to Trey Henderson, who bulled ahead for 60 tough yards, including 5-yard TD run to open the fourth quarter, and sophomore Brandon Simpson, who rushed for 112 yards and scored on a 37-yard run in the fourth. Simpson stepped into the starting lineup two weeks ago when tailback Logan McClinton was out with a hamstring injury.
McClinton returned and rushed for 43 yards on six carries and scored on a 7 yard run to lift Hubbard to a 14-0 lead in the first, He sat out the second half, and Simpson gained 76 of his 112 yards in the stretch.
Hubbard’s plan was to try to stop Kerens QB Nate Betts, and Horn went with a four-man front for the first time this season.
“We did that to try to contain him,’’ Horn said of Betts. “He’s such a special player. He’s a player who can hurt you, and he did hurt us.’’
That foursome up front led a smothering Hubbard defense that stopped Kerens in the first half, holding the Bobcats to only 10 yards on the ground and 27 yards in the air. Hubbard, led by Jordan Johnson and Josh Garrells, made six plays in the first half for either no gain or negative yardage, including four sacks.
But Betts got free in the second half and burned Hubbard on a 59-yard TD run to get the Bobcats on the board with 9:14 left in the third, and raced to a 22-yard TD with 2:37 left in the third. He had only nine yards in the first half but finished with 93 on 11 carries, and Betts completed of 10 for 156 yards, including a 37-yard TD pass to Jovani Coronado with 2:44 left in the game.
But the night belonged to Hubbard’s Jags, who proved again to be as tough as they need to be.
“We’re not designed to score 50 points against a good team,’’ Horn said. “We’re a grind-it-out team. But we had some turnovers and that helped us.’’
They helped, but the Jags know how to help themselves.
Just don’t call them lucky.
They’re just that good.
Hubbard 50, Kerens 20
Hubbard 14 14 8 14 — 50
Kerens 0 0 12 8 — 20
H — Nick Johnson 21 pass from Braydyn Gillham (run fails) 6:15
H —- Logan McClinton 7 run (McClinton run) 2:31
H —- D’Warren Simmons 15 pass from Braydyn Gillham (pass fails) 4:38
H — D’Warren Simons 38 pass from Braydyn Gillham ( Henderson run) 0:22
K — Nate Betts 59 run (kick fails) 9:14
H — Braydyn Gillham 14 fumble return (Henderson run) 5:43
K — Nate Betts 22 run (pass fails) 2:37
H — Trey Henderson 5 run (Henderson run) 11:55
H — Brandon Simpson 37 run (run fails) 9:33
K — Jovani Coronado 37 pass from Betts (Dontarius Byant pass from Betts) 2:44
First downs 21 11
Rush-yards 40-240 23-118
Passing yards 123 156
C-A-I 7-8-0 7-10-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-2
Punts-avg. 1-43 2-33.5
Penalties-yards 3-25 4-40
Rushing -- H: Brandon Simpson 12-115, Braydyn Gillham 8-32, Trey Henderson 14-60 Logan McClinton 6-43.
K: Nate Betts 11-93, Rayvon Faulk 7-1, Dontarius Bryant 3-22, Dequalon Bivins 2-1.
Passing -- H: Bryadyn Gillham 7-8-123. K: Nae Betts 7-10-156.
Receiving-- H: D’Warren Simmons 5-65, Nick Johnson 2-58. K: Brett Anderson 3-78, Jovani Corodado 1-37, Dontarius Bryant 2-42, Rayvon Faulk 1-1.