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Hubbard provides consistency, leadership at quarterback

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Latest, Sports

With time winding down in the Crosstown Showdown, Wylie’s Brady Dalton delivered a thunderous sack of Wylie East’s Jaedon Hubbard.

At the time, the Pirates led the Raiders 19-18 with just over a minute remaining and the sack moved East out of field goal range. Instead of panicking and using one of their last timeouts, Hubbard regrouped and threw to Kason Atkins twice for 18 yards to convert the first down. On the next play, Hubbard found Terrell Washington Jr. for the game-winning score with 38 seconds left.

It was the senior leader’s third passing touchdown of the game, and part of what has embodied his performance has been the ability to stay poised under pressure all season.

“After the hit, I was a little discombobulated,” Hubbard said. “I saw the clock, the fans and the great crowd that needed me and got back up to help my team win. It allowed me to make some plays and go and win that game.”

Hubbard worked primarily as the backup quarterback last season, tossing three touchdowns to six interceptions while seeing action in 10 games. Wylie East, which was primarily a run-first offense during that time, felt like they needed a change in the offseason.

“It was just a normal day in the offseason when coach [Marcus] Gold brought me into his office,” Hubbard said. “He told me coach [Jerry Gardner] was taking over the offense, and from that point, I was in his office almost every day getting plays and learning the offense. He really helped me show what I needed to do.”

Coach Gold said the primary reason for the changes on the offensive side of the ball was the lack of red zone scoring last season. With the struggles toward the end of that season, he wanted to see a change in approach, and Hubbard was the first player to seize the opportunity to win the job.

“It wasn’t so much his talent or anything,” Gold said. “We built our offseason around leadership, our players voting for captains and rallying behind their teammates. He quickly became one of the leaders of the group and he embraced that. We told him what he does on the field doesn’t affect how he leaves the team, but he approached the season with energy and was working with the receivers every day.”

When the team was searching for its leadership during the offseason, Hubbard stood out with his vocal presence in practice, seemingly never missing a workout and ready to put in the work to be successful. Gold said he quickly developed a presence that the team was ready to rally around.

“He’s one of the more vocal guys we have,” Gold said. “He can use words as powerful and he’s a positive guy. We’ve worked on his body language this offseason because we didn’t think it was always great last season. It messed up his mental focus and I think getting through those personal battles has made a huge difference.”

Even this season, Hubbard has battled through adversity despite the breakout season. When the offense struggled in the first half against Garland, the Raiders went to backup quarterback Maddox Fuller to lead to victory. Many teenagers could get upset at that moment, but Hubbard remained one of the best teammates on the sideline to help in the win.

“One of the most defining moments was the Garland game,” Gold said. “We’re winning 3-0 at the half and start the second with a three-and-out. At that point, we decided to pull him and Maddox [Fuller] rips off 31 points and we win 34-7. That entire time, he’s cheering for the team and supporting us on the sideline. That’s really tough for a teenager to handle that and still stay positive.”

Hubbard has seen his own personal growth over the year, starting mostly with his work ethic and attention to detail. The translation has seen a lot of success for Wylie East’s offense, as he’s yet to turn the ball over once this season, to go along with 16 touchdowns passing and over 1,000 yards in eight games.

“I’m a lot more mature this year,” Hubbard said. “I took it seriously, but not as seriously as I needed to be. With it being my senior year, I worked hard this offseason and wanted to help this team win games and go to college and play beyond that. My preparation has been a lot better.”

His success has also helped Wylie East be successful this season. The Raiders are a perfect 8-0 and have clinched at least a share of the District 9-6A championship. East also has the best offense in the district this season, averaging 38 points per game.

“I watch a lot of film and practice going through my reads,” Hubbard said. “The offense puts in a lot of work to understand coverages, know our reads and we’re doing a really good job of preparing for success.”

Hubbard hopes his strong senior season can lead to a collegiate scholarship and a playoff run for the Raiders. With his leadership and East hitting their stride, anything seems possible.

“We wanted it really bad this offseason,” Hubbard said. “Our goal was just to make the playoffs, we hadn’t done it in a while. We worked to achieve that and that was our mindset this offseason.”

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