Kobe Hughlett didn’t end his Xenia football career the way he wanted. Though Hughlett had 576 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns last season, the Buccaneers lost their first six games in what was a 3-7 campaign.
So when Hughlett got the chance to finish his football career as a winner in the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game on Friday night, he wanted to make the best of it.
Hughlett played an important role in the South’s defense and scored on a touchdown reception in the second quarter to help the team beat the North squad 23-14.
“It feels pretty great,” said Hughlett, who was named the offensive back of the game. “I low-key forgot what winning was this year, but I’m glad to do it today.”
Hughlett’s touchdown came with 7:43 left in the second quarter. Hughlett caught a pass from Preble Shawnee’s Kevin Ketring on a bubble screen and raced 12 yards against two North defenders to the corner of the end zone, where he was able to stretch out his right arm and move the ball across the goal line before being forced out of bounds.
“The safeties were playing inside, and it was two-on-three out there,” Hughlett said. “Our coaches had been telling (Ketring) to throw the bubble, and I couldn’t have done it without him and the offensive line. … In my mind, every time I touch the ball, I’m like, ‘You’ve got to score.’ So I had to.”
The South added one field goal late in the second quarter and two more in the second half to stave off the North’s comeback tires.
Sidney’s Allec Gordon scored on a 17-yard touchdown reception with 4:55 left in the third which narrowed the North’s gap to 20-14. Gordon also hauled down a 77-yard pass on a flea-flicker in the fourth quarter that was called back due to a penalty.
Gordon also scored the North’s other touchdown on a 13-yard reception from Covington’s Nathan Blei in the first quarter. Though Gordon was sad the North couldn’t complete the comeback, he was pleased with his performance, especially considering he was a late addition to the game.
“It was definitely a great time scoring again,” Gordon said. “They needed a receiver, and I came in late to help them out. I only practiced four days with them, and for me to be able to come in and score two touchdowns in awesome.”
Gordon was pleased with his career with the Yellow Jackets, which included a 6-4 record in 2015. He’s confident his younger brother Andre Gordon, a highly-sought recruit, can help take the program to the next level.
“The years before we got there, they had butt-heads that were just knocking heads with the coaches,” Gordon said. “I’m glad our program’s moving forward, and I’m glad I was a part of that.”
The North leads the all-time series 21-12-1.