Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas


September 21, 2013

GC Football: Hubbard defense smothers Italy, 20-7

Hubbard — If Hubbard makes the run, you know the one, the one that carries the Jags deep into the playoffs.

If they make that run, they will remember Friday night’s 20-7 win against Italy.

Nope, the game has nothing to do with the playoffs, but everything to do with who and what these Jaguars are.

Soaked and soggy, hurt and hurting, the Jags stepped out of the mud and into a land all their own, winning on a night no one thought they would (well, they did), in a game that could define a season.

You need a definition for the Jags?

“They’re resilient,’’ Hubbard coach Craig Horn said. “We’re beat up. We’re injured. But they’ve got a lot of heart, a lot of guts ...”

These Jags, these kids who never make an excuse, have more than that. They’ve got each other.

So on a night when they had four starters out (eight starting positions), including quarterback Casen Martin and tailback Logan McClinton, the second leading rusher in the Golden Circle, the Jags not only found a way to win, but to dominate.

They did it with a Black Hole defense — you know, you go into a black hole and never come out — that swarmed and stormed and took everything away from a big, physical Italy team that is favored to win its district, and they did it with a night-to-remember performance by sophomore QB Braydyn Gillham, who threw for a TD and ran for one and finished with 114 yards on the ground on a night when nothing came easy.

Easy isn’t even in Hubbard’s vocabulary.

It was Gillham’s first start at QB, and after his night of nights all he wanted to do was talk about the other guys.

“This was for Casen,’’ he said of the injured senior starter. “This was for the guys we have who are injured. It’s not about one player, it’s about the team. That’s what wins championships.’’

That’s what Hubbard is all about — about grit and guts, and the Jags brought it all and more, coming back after falling behind 7-0.

If there’s one play to define the night it’s Gillham’s YOU-tube-worthy 56-yard TD run that all but put the game away with 4:20 left. He not only broke two tackles to get out of the backfield, but he went one-on-one with a defender and the two collided with a head-butting for the ages. Gillham won the battle, stood up, and then popped free for 50 yards of daylight and a TD.

“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh,’’ said Gillham after the game. “I looked up and all I saw was the end zone. I was gone. At first I thought I was going to hurdle him, but I (head-butted him). Then I saw the end zone.’’

The message is clear. Don’t butt heads with Hubbard.

The Jags are now 3-1 with a lone loss to state-ranked Bosqueville by one point in overtime.

But Friday was their best defensive night of the season

Hubbard’s defense made 18 plays for either no gain or losses. That’s right 18. And that Black Hole D was never alone. The Jags come at you all at once and all together. Linebacker Josh Garrels, a junior, was in on more than half of those plays.

“He’s a war-daddy,’’ Horn said with praise.

But Garrels wasn’t alone. Hubbard’s big D kids like Jordan Johnson, Brian Walker, Tre Knight, Nick Johnson, Shane Sykora and D’Warren Simmons, who caught a 33-yard TD pass and also had an interception, were all in on the act. It was a defensive overload. Horn smiled when he heard about the 18 plays, and added they should have had more.

He’s proud of his kids and it shows.

And his kids know it. They play with pride.

Italy led 7-0, thanks to a 37-yard breakaway from TaMarcus Sheppard, who opened the game with a 67-yard run to the 17. He had two big plays worth 104 yards and finished the night with 112 yards on 16 carries. Do the math — Hubbard stuffed him.

Gillham hit Simmons with a 33-yard TD pass with 38 seconds left in the half, and then he helped keep a drive alive in the third when — on a fourth-and-one — he bulldozed 11 yards on a  quarterback sneak to the Italy 2. After a  penalty, Trey Henderson, who ran tough all night and finished with 52 yards, scored on a 6-yard run to lift the Jags to a 12-7 lead with 3:38 left in the third.

Sophomore Brandon Simpson, who was filling in for McClinton, also had a big night, gaining 53 yards on 11 carries in the mud.

And of course, once Hubbard scored, the defense took care of the rest. Italy (1-3)  had just one first down in the second half, and then came the butting-heads play to put it away.

“That was a big play,’’ Horn said. “He’s a linebacker playing quarterback.’’

Doesn’t matter at Hubbard, not here where no one makes an excuse and no one cares what they play.

“It’s all about the team,’’ Gillham said.

Nothing to butt heads about that.

Text Only
  • 4-24-14Bland.jpg GC Bi-District Softball: Mildred rips Trinity 10-1

    This was easy.
    Almost too easy.
    It's going to get tougher on the road in the playoffs, and maybe that's why Mildred's 10-1 romp over Trinity in the opening game of the three-game series in the Class 2A bi-district round of the playoffs felt so good to the Lady Eagles.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • GC Softball Bi-District roundup: BG beats New Waverly 3-2; Hubbard downs Itasca 5-3

    It didn't end until Mariah Horner squeezed her glove and hauled in the final out of the game in right field on Thursday night in Madisonville, where Horner and the Blooming Grove Lady Lions hung on to beat New Waverly 3-2 in the opening games of a three-game series in the Class 2A bi-district playoffs.

    April 24, 2014

  • CHS SotfballSpence.jpg GC Softball: Playoff Time

    There  were some bumps on the road and slides in the standings and a few bruises along the way, but five Golden Circle teams have reached the softball playoffs that begin with first round games on Thursday.
    For Corsicana it was a wakeup call during the second half of district play that gave the Tigers the push they needed, and for Mildred it was the culmination of yet another splendid season as the Lady Eagles made the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Blooming Grove is back again, a regular in post season play with a chance to make a run, and Hubbard begins its quest to get to the state tournament and Austin with a one-game playoff on Thursday against Itasca in Italy.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NVSBAhearn.jpg Navarro Softball: Bulldogs split with Kilgore, win final home game

    Kristen Ahearn was mad, steaming.
    Even her peanut butter and jelly sandwich that she ate between the doubleheader games didn't taste good. Nothing fit. Nothing was in sync. Nothing felt right or even tasted right.
    Then Ahearn found the cure.
    Simple enough: Just go out and blast a three-run homer.
    That's the short version of what happened Tuesday at Navarro College, where Ahearn's three-run bomb ignited the Bulldogs in the second game against Kilgore and Navarro went on to win 8-5 to close out its regular season with a bang and a smile from Ahearn.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • KerensBBAnderson.jpg GC Baseball: Kerens beats Cayuga 5-1, wins first district title since 1981

    The wait is over.
    And it came just in time for Brett Anderson, who left it all on the mound Tuesday night at Kerens, where he pitched a masterpiece to lead the Bobcats over Cayuga, 5-1, and help the program win its first baseball district title since 1981.
    “I've got no gas left. I'm out,'' said Anderson, a senior lefty who stopped Cayuga cold, holding the three-time defending district champs to just three singles while striking out 14.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • GC Basebal Roundup: Corsicana blasts Jacksonville; BG wins huge district game

    The Corsicana Tigers wrapped up district play with a dominating 9-0 win over the Jacksonville Indians behind Trevor Nolen, who shut out the Indians and allowed only one hit over 6 1/3 innings.  Donovan Fields came on to retire the final two hitters. The Tiger pitchers limited the Indians to only 25 plate appearances in the game and no runner to reach third base.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23-14 Rodeo clown.jpg Rodeo: Navarro County Derrick Days -- Burton is back

    He's back.
    Professional rodeo entertainer Ronald Burton returns to the Navarro County Exposition Center  April 25-26 to entertain the crowd at the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro Rodeo.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huggins rodeo Huggins to call shots at Derrick Days Rodeo

    West Huggins will serve as the announcer for the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro rodeo. The Gardendale native is the reigning three-time United Professional Rodeo Association Announcer of the Year.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NC baseball Whoa 300th Dill gets 300th win in Navarro baseball sweep of Bossier Parish

    Navarro baseball’s weekend in Louisiana was significant on a number of fronts. On one hand, coach Whoa Dill notched his 300th win. On the other, and perhaps more importantly, the Bulldogs simply continued to play well. The Bulldogs swept Bossier Parish to move 14-11 in Region XIV East Zone play, and 27-17 overall.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mildred sending five to regional track meet

    Sasha Ballard set a school record in the 800 meters and paced a contingent of five Mildred thinclads heading to Stephenville for the regionals later this week.

    April 21, 2014