When the final story of the 2019 Hubbard Jaguar football season is written, a common theme throughout the story will be frustratingly close.
The Jaguars added another chapter to that story with a painful 26-20 overtime loss to the Wortham Bulldogs to eliminate Hubbard from the playoff chase and send Wortham and Frost into the postseason, along with Dawson and Mart.
The loss dropped Hubbard to 0-4 in District 11-2A DII play and the third time out of four games that the Jaguars lost by only one touchdown.
This one was especially hard as the Jaguars had control of the game midway through the fourth quarter with a chance to solidify a playoff spot with a win next week over winless Meridian.
But, as with most football games, turnovers proved to be the difference.
Wortham used an interception to score the game-tying touchdown late in the game, and a fumble on the first play of overtime to set-up the game-winning score and dropping Hubbard to 4-5 on the season.
Hubbard finished the night with four turnovers to only one by the Bulldogs.
After being tied at halftime, the Jaguars took their first lead of the night on a 6-yard run by quarterback Logan Morris, but the two-point conversion failed as Hubbard took a 14-8 lead.
Morris would lead the Jaguars in rushing with 65 yards on the night.
Wortham would answer on the ensuing possession, scoring on 27-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Coker to a wide-open Demarcus Bullard on a fourth-and-fifteen play. Coker, under heavy pressure from the Jaguar defense, reversed course and found Bullard all alone in the endzone for the equalizing touchdown late in the third quarter.
Hubbard would retake the lead with just under 10 minutes remaining on a 35-yard catch and run by Cooper Martin, aided by a big, downfield block by Billy Stone. Stone would help set-up the score with a 28-yard reception from Morris.
Later in the fourth, Hubbard was looking to keep control of the football, while driving for an all-important two-score lead when Wortham’s Tanner Bean picked off a Jaguar pass and returned it deep into Hubbard territory.
Six plays later, with just 39 seconds remaining, Coker would score his second rushing touchdown of the night to tie the game at 20-20 and force overtime.
Coker finished the night with 156 yards rushing on 36 carries to lead all rushers.
The Jaguars got the ball first in overtime, and promptly fumbled on the first play from scrimmage.
After Coker picked up a first down, the Jaguar defense seemed to be on the verge of forcing a second overtime by holding the Bulldogs on the next three plays, forcing fourth down.
Instead of attempting a 31-yard field goal, the Bulldogs decided to go for it. Heavy pressure again forced Coker to scramble and heave a desperation throw that somehow found Cade McCoslin in the corner of the end zone. McCoslin was able to make the catch and get a foot down on a play that gave the Bulldogs a 26-20 win and put the Jaguars out of the playoff chase.
With the loss, Hubbard will close out the season hosting winless Meridian next Friday. Wortham (7-2) moves into a second-place tie with Dawson at 3-1 and will travel to face the Bulldogs in Dawson next week.