Blinn Run-and-Shoot next obstacle for playoff-minded Bulldogs

By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Sun   —

BRENHAM —  Jake Hubenak could have been the quarterback at a lot of junior colleges in Texas, but it seemed that everywhere he went last spring the signal-caller stable was full.

That was until he tried Blinn College, where he a found a home and place to thrive.

First-year Blinn Coach Keith Thomas brought in the Georgetown native, which he can count among his greatest recruiting coups.

Hubenak leads the NJCAA with 3,534 yards and 42 touchdowns through the air this season, leading the Buccaneers to a 4-3 record.

No team, even in Blinn’s losses, has yet to slow Hubenak. This week is Navarro’s turn to attempt to put the clamps on Blinn’s torrid passing attack.

The No. 12-ranked Bulldogs travel to Brenham at 3 p.m. on Saturday with the fate of their season on the line. Both Navarro and Blinn need a win to earn a playoff berth.

Stopping Blinn’s offense, which averages 57.1 points a game, hinges on slowing the passing game that puts up 535.1 yards an outing.

Navarro Coach Brian Mayper isn’t sure many defenses in the nation can stop the Bucs.

“It’s the pure run-and-shoot offense,” he said. “It’s one-two-three and the ball is out of the quarterback’s hand. (Hubenak) does a great job with the offense.

“A lot of us had to pass on him because we already had our transfers full or our quarterback (lineup) full. He’s certainly been great this season.”

A perfect example of Hubenak’s effectiveness was last week’s 49-40 loss to Kilgore. Trailing 35-14 entering the fourth quarter, Hubenak rallied the Bucs to 26 points in the final stanza. He finished with 644 yards and six touchdowns passing as Blinn racked up 768 total yards of offense against arguably the most effective defense in the league.

“The good thing about us running the 3-4 is that we have an extra skilled guy on the field,” Mayper said. “With eight skilled players, we can do a whole lot of things on defense with our coverages. The offense also never knows who’s blitzing and from which direction they are coming.”

But it may have been Kilgore’s offense that showed the key to defeating Blinn. The Rangers rolled to a season-high 40 first downs, 688 yards of total offense and had 96 plays, compared to 61 for the Bucs.

Navarro, which will be playing without starting receivers Austin Collins and DelMichael High, starting linebacker Byron Walker and backup running back Mikechell Potts, all of whom were ejected from last week’s win over Tyler and were suspended this week per league rules.

Running back Kijana Amous is returning to back up Ke’Aun Kinner after a two-week absence because of an injury, according to Mayper.

Mayper said he’s confident in the reserves who are moving into starting roles and that he’s seen a spark in his team this week.

“They fully understand what’s at stake on Saturday,” he said. “We’ve been concentrating on team stuff more this week and that has given them a chance to focus on Saturday’s game. I think we’re going to be ready to go when we step on the field.”

No. 12 Navarro (6-2, 3-2) at Blinn (4-3, 2-3)
Saturday, 3 p.m.
At Cub Stadium

Radio: KAND 1340 AM

RECENT HISTORY:  Navarro rolled to a 42-28 victory over the Bucs in Corsicana last year as Tim Wright rushed for 167 yards and 3 TDs.
Key Players: Navarro: WR JaBryce Taylor, RB Ke’aun Kinner, QB Carson Earp, S Kyron Minter, OL Maurice Porter. Blinn: QB Jake Hubenak, WR DeeDee Westbrook, WR Damion Ratley.
Game Notes: QB Hubenak is averaging 504.9 yards and 6 TDs per game through the air … his favorite receivers are Westbrook (190.9 yards receiving per game, 11 TDs) and Ratley (18 TDs) … coached by former Navarro head man Keith Thomas, Blinn is averaging 654 yards of offense, but is yielding 378 yards by opponents . . . Blinn has 36 sacks this season, paced by LB Justin Johnson’s 5.5 and 12.5 TFLs … LB Jayd Kirby leads Navarro with 8 sacks, DE Quincy Vasser has 15 TFL  … look for WR Calvin Jones to see more action this week with the suspensions of starters DelMichael High and Austin Collins