LINWOOD - Maurice Hubbard is listed as a running back on the Absegami High School football roster.
But if running the ball doesn't work out for Hubbard, the senior showed late in the first half of Friday's game with Mainland Regional that he may have a future as a wide receiver.
Hubbard's acrobatic first-half touchdown catch gave Absegami its first lead of the game and the Braves went on to beat the Mustangs 27-20 in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game.
Temple University-bound running back David Hood tied the game for the Braves as he slashed his way through Mainland's defense for a 13-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.
But Hubbard's catch was the highlight of the game.
With halftime approaching, Absegami quarterback Mike Dolan was running out of options and running room as he was forced out of the pocket to his right. Dolan paused briefly and threw up a jump ball toward the corner of the end zone.
Hubbard, with a defender draped all over him, was the first to jump and get a hand on the ball. He tipped the ball straight up in the air before crashing to the ground empty-handed.
But he wouldn't be empty-handed for long.
The ball somehow fell perfectly back into Hubbard's waiting arms for the touchdown.
"I jumped up and tipped it. I saw the ball in the air and I was just trying to focus on it. It came down, the defender tried to break it away but I just kept a strong hold on it," Hubbard said.
Absegami (2-1) would rather forget Friday night's first quarter.
The Braves were penalized on three straight plays to open the game and made two trips into Mainland's red zone without scoring a single point.
Absegami finished Friday's game with 13 penalties, totaling 97 yards. The Braves even had a 43-yard David Hood touchdown run brought back due to a holding call.
"I feel like we came together and really played as a team for the first time. We haven't really played as a team, but today we brought it together," Hood said. "As the games go on, from the first game to this game, we're progressing. We're getting better so that by the time the playoffs come our offense should be the way it is supposed to be."
But Absegami showed signs of its potential to be a prolific offense in the second and third quarters.
Hood finished the game with 130 yards rushing on 17 carries and had four catches for 48 yards. Hubbard had 26 yards rushing and 30 receiving and Dolan finished 14-of-21 for 159 yards.
Mainland (1-2) opened the scoring Friday late in the first quarter.
Quarterback Ty Mindish dropped back on third-and-10, turned and heaved the ball down the middle of the field to a streaking Dean Deveney.
Deveney outran the Absegami secondary for a 70-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Mainland lead after one quarter.
But the Braves controlled play the rest of the way until the fourth quarter when the host Mustangs tried to make one last surge.
Justin Walsh scored from 1 yard out and then after the Mainland defense forced the Braves into a three-and-out, Mindish found James Brennan in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown pass. But Absegami recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the rest of the clock.
Tyler Welch had two catches for 37 yards and a pair of interceptions.
Contact John O'Kane:
Absegami 0 14 13 0 - 27
Mainland Regional 7 0 0 7 - 14
MR-Deveney 70 pass from Mindish (Juliano kick)
A-Hood 13 run (Sanz kick)
A-Hubbard 25 pass from Dolan (Sanz kick)
A-Hubbard 3 run (Sanz kick)
A-Dolan 1 run (kick failed)
MR-Walsh 1 run (Juliano kick)
MR-Brennan 9 pass by Mindish (kick blocked)
Records – Absegami 2-1; Mainland 1-2.