CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Huntington senior Nick Tubbs has, to date, been known more in basketball circles than for his play with the Highlanders football team.
Tubbs' touchdown-scoring 62-yard kickoff return of a Capital onside kick in the final minute of Huntington's 24-10 win Friday night served as the final highlight of that game, and one that apparently left an impression on Daily Mail Poll voters.
The Highlanders (6-0) have been at the top of the SSAC playoff ratings since they were first released following Week 3.
They are ranked second behind No. 1 Martinsburg (5-1) in this week's Daily Mail Class AAA poll.
"We just come in every game trying to keep going on an undefeated season," Tubbs said after the game. "We know that, being number one, everybody is going to try to come in and knock us off every time.
"Capital's a great team and they played good. We just came out on top."
Tubbs (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) is typically Huntington's third ball-carrying option on offense, behind senior fullback Paden Christian (537 yards on 102 attempts) and senior running back Charles Crawford (441 on 45). He entered last week's game with 363 yards and four touchdowns on 40 attempts.
But when junior quarterback Craig Wilson took a hard hit in the first quarter, Huntington Coach Billy Seals pulled him from the offensive lineup and used him exclusively as a safety. Wilson was an All-State selection as a defensive back in 2012.
In Wilson's place, Seals inserted sophomore Jaylen Adaway, but as the game wore on would line up Tubbs at quarterback whenever Huntington was not in an obvious passing situation.
Tubbs finished with 36 yards on 12 carries, but a 27-yard run with 2:39 left in the third quarter put the Highlanders at the Capital 23, setting up what became a 30-yard field goal by Zach Stevens that gave the hosts a 17-3 lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
The field goal was the back-breaking score, as it capped a drive that began off the recovery of one of Capital's 11 fumbles, which occurred on the first play of a Cougar drive the team had begun in uncharacteristically good field position.
Tubbs' rushing total was actually 26.4 percent of Huntington's total offensive output. Capital (4-1), which fell two spots to No. 5 this week, held the Highlanders to 136 yards.
Tubbs diverted from coach-speak long enough to give credence to the notion that Huntington was looking to avenge a 48-14 loss to the Cougars in the final week of the 2012 regular season.
This was not a "we approach every game the same way," situation, after all.
"We had a lot of fire for this one," Tubbs said. "We wanted revenge. Our defense plays a big part. We come out here every day and perform on defense. We work hard in practice, and that's the most important thing out here."
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