By Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun
Hubbard Coach Craig Horn talked earlier in the week about Chilton’s Charles Simpson, and just how worried he was about the Pirate running back.
“He’s the fastest kid I have seen in years, and in my coaching career there are probably only two other running backs who I have seen who were faster,’’ Horn said on Wednesday
Horn knows football, and not just Xs and Os. He knows the game and knows kids and he knew what he was talking about when he scouted Chilton.
Sure enough, Simpson turned into a nightmare for Hubbard on Thursday night and is the biggest reason Chilton is alive in the playoffs today and Hubbard’s season is over.
He busted free for a 78-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage and finished the night with 226 yards on nine carries and scored all four of Chilton’s touchdowns, including a 103-yard interception return with 1:52 left in the game that sealed the win for the Pirates, who moved on with a 28-6 victory over Hubbard in the Region III-1A DII area playoff game Thursday night at Panther Stadium at the Mart Athletic Complex.
Hubbard, which hadn’t lost since Sept. 6 when the Jags fell to Bosqueville by one point in overtime, ends a remarkable season at 9-2, but just couldn’t stop Simpson when they had to, despite coming back with a wild TD play in the fourth quarter that closed the gap to 14-6 with 4:53 left in the game.
The Jags turned the momentum around in the fourth when Jordan Green blocked a Chilton punt, (Simpson is the punter) and Hubbard scored on a wild fourth-and-13 play from the Chilton 30.
QB Casen Martin pitched the ball to fullback Trey Henderson, who turned and ran right to left, bumping away from a tackle before throwing a TD pass to Nick Johnson, but Henderson’s PAT was blocked.
Still, it was an 8-point game and Hubbard looked ready to come back and win it. But Simpson, who had been silent in the second half, ran for a 15-yard TD with 3:14 left and after Hubbard drove to the Chilton 32, he made one more incredible play, snatching a fourth-down interception three yards deep in the end zone, racing the length of the field to seal the deal.
Chilton (10-2) meets the winner of the Tenaha-Frost game, which is tonight in Lindale.
Hubbard had chances, and the biggest sequence of plays arguably came in the first quarter when the Jags drove from their 18 to the Chilton 4-yard line and failed to get in when a fourth-down pass was tipped, falling incomplete.
On the next play, Simpson broke free and simply outraced everyone on the field for a 96-yard TD run that lifted Chilton to a 14-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the quarter.
Hubbard came oh so close before halftime, but drives ended in frustration on a “shoulda, woulda, coulda” night. The second quarter was brutal as Hubbard seemed so close right up until the halftime buzzer.
The Jags drove to the Chilton 25 on their next possession following the 96-yard backbreaker, but QB Braydyn Gillham scrambled and was stopped short on a fourth-and-9 play.
Then Hubbard stopped the Pirates when D’Warren Simmons made a brilliant interception at the Hubbard 5, and the Jags drove from there all the way to Chilton territory, but Chilton’s Chris Holder made a highlight play interception at the 5-yard-line to turn back the Jags again on a ball that was all but in Simmons’ hands when Holder made the pick.
There’s more: Hubbard kept Chilton out of the end zone and Green picked up Hubbard’s third sack of the night in the final seconds when he threw Chilton QB Javarious Young for a 12-yard loss to the Chilton 34 on a fourth down play. The Jags took over with 0:03 on the clock and time for one play. They ran a reverse to Simmons, who wanted to throw the ball. No one was open and he took off, reversing direction again and, racing all the way across the field and down the left sideline all the way to the 11 as time expired.
Hubbard went to the half with that oh-so-close feeling.
Both defenses tightened and there were five sacks (three by Hubbard) and only two first downs (both by Chilton) in the third quarter. Chilton rushed for 238 yards in the first half but the Jags held Chilton to just 58 in the second half with a swarming defense that ended the night with six sacks.
Hubbard’s defense shut down both Simpson and Young in the third and the Jags opened the fourth with an impressive drive from the Jag 29 to the Pirate 22 but Casen’s fourth-and-10 pass was out of Johnson’s reach in the end zone.
The Jags, who produced 434 yards of offense, including 259 in the air, just kept coming — and coming up short.
Logan McClinton led Hubbard in rushing with 56 yards on 11 carries, and Simmons had 90 yards on 7 receptions.
But, it wasn’t enough on a night and a game that belonged to Simpson.