LESSONS LEARNED: Cubs fall to Eagles in first round playoff game

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November 2, 2016 - 12:00 AM

WELLSVILLE — It never feels good to lose, especially when that loss is a 54-6 playoff defeat, but when Humboldt coach Logan Wyrick is able to reflect on his team’s 2016 season, he will be fairly happy.
The Cubs entered the season with junior running back Jacob Barker as the top returning playmaker from a year ago. He had only four carries for 22 yards, but he was the only Cub with any varsity yardage.
The team featured just two seniors with linemen Levi Habiger and Colton Riebel. Wyrick had one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in the state.
The young Cubs did not come into the year timid however. They won their opening game and ended up qualifying for the playoffs with a 4-5 regular season record.
The Cubs’ season ended with a first round playoff loss to the senior-laden Wellsville Eagles, who entered the game with a 8-1 record while playing in a mostly 4A league, but the nice thing for Cubs fans is that, because they played such a young team this season, that means those young players become veterans next year.
Humboldt will return an 1,100-yard running back with Barker. The junior was productive against a tough Wellsville defense on Tuesday with 100 yards on the ground and that bodes well for him entering his senior season.
“It will be great having a 1,000-yard rusher returning,” Wyrick said.
The Cubs will also have freshman playmaker Conor Haviland back into the fold after his versility late in the season provided a big boost to the Cub attack. Haviland’s 70-yard touchdown reception was the only score of the game for the Cubs.
“We could have run (Haviland) more as a freshman, but we didn’t want to just throw him into the fire,” Wyrick said. “We eased him in. He and Dagen Goodner are around 300 yards each (rushing this season), so as far as our offense, it should be fun to look at going into next season.”
The quarterback responsible for the touchdown pass was sophomore Kyler Allen. Allen took over the starting job late in the season and helped the playoff push. He leads a group of quarterbacks that certainly won’t lack for experience next season.
“We had six players take a meaningful snap from under center this year,” Wyrick said. “In 3A that is unheard of… Kyler has gotten very good experience.”
Wyrick says the Cubs will certainly miss the leadership Habiger and Riebel provided this season as the team’s only two seniors.
“It doesn’t hurt any less only having two (seniors),” Wyrick said. “I don’t say this as a bad thing, but they aren’t the most talented (football players) in the world, but everything they have gotten, especially Habiger, has just been through hard work. They have both been leaders and I couldn’t ask for better ones.”
Tuesday’s loss is certainly a stinger, but the future is bright for the young Cubs who should only continue to grow more fierce next season.
“It hurts tonight,” Wyrick said. “But hopefully we are moving on to bigger and better things.”

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