Hubbard shines even in defeat

Omar Napier runs for yardage against the Indians. Napier made his return from an ACL injury suffered last June during a team camp. 

The scoreboard at C.T. Manley stadium read 14-0 in favor of Colbert County during the Indian’s spring game against R.A. Hubbard Friday night. 

Either way, Hubbard viewed the game as a win. 

The Chiefs played strong with the 2A Indians, who have a history of being one of the top small school programs in North Alabama.

“We competed,” said Hubbard head coach Mac Hampton. “Our front seven played really well on defense. We still have work to do, but I’ll put my front seven up against anybody.” 

The Chiefs definitely didn’t back down and proved that, even though they’re a 1A school , they belonged, especially physically, on the field with the bigger school. 

“That’s all coach Hampton,” said senior linebacker and tight end Montoya Kellogg. “If you follow his weight program, then you’ll get big and strong and can play with anybody. Our d-line can play with the best of them, 1A-7A.”

Colbert County quarterback Slade Berryman took advanatage of a young secondary, which is replacing all of it’s starters, by throwing for two touchdowns. 

However, for the most part the Chiefs defense stymied the Indians, making big plays behind the line of scrimmage and forcing multiple turnovers. 

“We had some busted coverages,” Hampton said. “Our safety didn’t get over, our eyes weren’t in the right place. It was small stuff.” 

Offensively the Chiefs brought the same powerful rushing attack . Led by a hulking offensive line the Chiefs racked up big runs, including a few times when Demetris Bean carried several defenders. 

A huge bright spot was the return of running back Omar Napier, who missed last season due to an ACL injury. 

“It feels good,” Napier said. “I haven’t played football since last June, so it felt great to be out there.” 

Napier cut and ran with authority, not like someone who is coming off a serious knee injury. When asked if he worried about his knee Napier replied “no sir.” 

Hubbard has plenty of great athletes to rely on but Napier’s return gives the Chiefs a true tailback to work with. 

“We have to have him,” Hampton said. “When you run the ball a lot you have to have a speedster, you can’t just have bruisers. You’ve got to have a little lightning with that thunder.” 

Hubbard moved the ball on the Chiefs, but failed to punch it in, stalling in the red zone on more than one occasion. 

Creating balance with a passing attack was a weakness for the Chiefs last year and it’s something they know they need in order to be more successful than their 8-3 campaign a season ago. 

“That’s a major focus for us this summer,” Hampton said. “As long as there is R.A. Hubbard we will be able to run the ball, but we’ve got to balance that thing out. I’m confident that if we work on it this summer we can make it happen because I’ve got some guys that can catch it.” 

Overall, the spring game was a solid outing, setting up for successful 2019 season. 

“We played good and fought hard. We’ve got a lot of young guys that are ready to work,” Kellogg said. “All we’ve got to do is fix it up this summer and we might be better than last year.”

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