Hubley’s monster night sends Great Valley past Owen J. Roberts

MALVERN >> Having lost many seniors from its 2014 district champion, Great Valley might be flying under the radar this season.

Warning to defensive coordinators: Great Valley junior receiver Ryan Hubley warrants a red-alert.

Hubley’s difference-making speed and moves resulted in a game-changing performance Friday night at Great Valley, where the Patriots moved to 2-0, winning a game that had been tight all the way with Owen J. Roberts, 34-21.

Hubley, a 5-7, 150-pounder with eye-popping acceleration, scored two touchdowns receiving, one rushing, and set up a score with a punt return. Two of the TDs were over 60 yards. He also registered a sack. Didn’t sell popcorn or other concessions, but he pretty much covered the territory.

“We’ve got to keep pounding, execute, step up and make big plays,” Hubley said.

That’s exactly what he did, in concert with junior quarterback Robert Geiss, and it required all the big plays Great Valley had in its bag to fend off a feisty OJR team (0-2).

The Wildcats couldn’t have competed much harder, but they could have played smarter, accumulating 110 yards in penalties, including four unsportsmanlike conducts. Despite those flags, a leg injury that cost them hard-running quarterback Mitch Bradford (three rushing TDs in the game) in the fourth quarter, and explosive plays by Great Valley, the Wildcats were in it almost to the end.

Overall, it was a whole lot better than OJR’s 34-14 season-opening setback to Conestoga. The glass was half-full to the head coach after his players emptied their buckets.

“Last week, we didn’t play as well as we did this week, so we made a lot of improvement, which is positive,” first-year OJR head coach Rich Kolka said. “Last week we didn’t take advantage of opportunities, and this week I thought we did.”

Indeed, the Wildcats were opportunistic. Gaining only 80 yards of total offense the first half – 59 on one TD run by Bradford – they still led the Patriots 14-6 at the break. Their other touchdown was a 10-yarder by Bradford set up by Jake Karpinski’s blocked punt. The Wildcats also picked off Geiss twice in the first half – three overall – and denied a GV TD when Karpinski made an interception near his own goal line late in the half.

OJR’s defense played well in the first half, limiting the Patriots to 126 total yards. Great Valley’s lone score the first half was set up by an interception. But Hubley, who scored that Great Valley TD, would be the biggest factor in the second half.

Hubley stepped on the gas and got Great Valley going. His 31-yard punt return on a short field positioned GV for a touchdown that put the Patriots up 20-14 with 4:43 left in the first quarter.

“The guys did a great job blocking and gave me a good lane,” Hubley said.

Geiss had an up-and-down night but ended up with as many TD passes as picks, and his elusive running also was a factor. Geiss’ 23-yard scamper led to a 25-yard TD pass to Anthony Liberato to tie the game at 14 early in the third quarter.

OJR came back to take its final lead, 21-20, with 10.8 seconds left in the third quarter when 6-4 sophomore Dawson Stuart made a terrific interception deep in GV territory to set up Bradford’s third touchdown. Unfortunately, Bradford was carried off after that play and spent the rest of the game in pain on a medical bench (Kolka said he thinks Bradford will be back, though he didn’t say when).

That’s when Hubley took over. Streaking down the right side, Hubley hauled in a perfect rope from Geiss and went 66 yards for a score with 10:41 left in the fourth: 26-21 Great Valley.

“We saw the corners were biting on the boundary, so we went up the sideline and connected,” Hubley smiled.

Stuart, a strong-armed backup QB growing up fast, stepped in for Bradford and made some nice runs and throws to keep the Patriots nervous. Karpinski made a miraculous rebound catch of an almost sure interception, a 32-yard gain to give the Wildcats the ball at the GV 28-yard line 1:42 left in regulation. But a lost fumble on the next play ended the threat.

In the final minute and needing to run out the clock, GV ended in fitting fashion for this night: Hubley iced it with a 73-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds left.

Great Valley 34, Owen J. Roberts 21
Owen J. Roberts 0-14-7-0-21
Great Valley     6-0-14-14-34
GV-Hubley 24 pass from Geiss (kick failed)
OJR-Bradford 10 run (Dinnocenti kick)
OJR-Bradford 59 run (Dinnocenti kick)
GV-Liberato 25 pass from Geiss (Hubley 2-point pass from Geiss)
GV-Derobertis 1 run (pass failed)
OJR-Bradford 11 run (Dinnocenti kick)
GV-Hubley 66 pass from Geiss (pass failed)
GV-Hubley 73 run (Johnson two-point run)

First downs                      12     16
Rushing yards                139     184
Passing yards                  90      170
Total yards                      229      354
C-A-I                               8-22-1    11-24-3
Fumbles-lost                   4-2           1-0
Punts-avg.                      6-31.5       2-25.0
Penalties-yards            10-110      5-65
Rushing: OJR-Bradford 17-93, 3 TDs; Stuart 5-28; Spriggs 1-17; Pinelli 6-2; Stewart 1-1; Buehler 2- -2; Weeks 2-0. GV-Hubley 3-72, TD; Derobertis 18-47, TD; Geiss 12-47; Johnson 3-16; Crouse 2-2
Receiving: OJR-Buehler 7-58; Karpinski 1-32; GV-Hubley 6-120, 2 TDs; Cionci 2-13; Liberato 1-25, TD; Derobertis 1-8; Banavitch 1-4.
Passing: OJR-Stuart 5-15-0, 82 yds; Bradford 3-7-1, 8 yds; GV-Geiss 11-24-3, 170 yds, 3 TDs
Interceptions: OJR-Gadzicki, Karpinski, Stuart; GV-Derobertis.
Sacks: OJR-Mitchell 2, McCollum, Scherfel, Weeks; GV-Hubley, Tillett.

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