The Hillsboro Trojans did some good things on offense Friday against the Hesston Swathers, compiling 450 yards of offense and passing 100 yards rushing.
However, three Hillsboro drives that came up short in the red zone and a phenomenal night rushing by Hesston’s Ryan Schadler spelled defeat for the Trojans.
“I thought we did extremely well, except inside the 10,” coach Lance Sawyer said.
Justus Hilliard returned the opening kickoff into Hesston territory, and the Trojans converted a third down and a fourth down attempt to move inside the 10-yard line. But Hesston blocked the Trojans’ field goal attempt on fourth-and-goal.
Hillsboro’s defense stood its ground on Hesston’s first drive, making a tackle for loss on fourth-and-3.
Hillsboro punted on the ensuing possession, and Evan Ollenburger downed the punt inside the 1-yard line. On Hesston’s first play, though, Schadler ran the ball through the middle of the defense for a 99-yard touchdown. Hesston had a 7-0 lead.
Hillsboro answered with a sustained drive that included first downs running and passing by Jesse Brown. Then, from the 14-yard line, Brown ran a bootleg right and passed to Ollenburger, who stretched for the pylon and scored. Brown tied the game with an extra point kick that was the equivalent of a 30-yard field goal after a pair of false start penalties.
Hesston replied by scoring a pair of rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Wyatt McKinney ran for 47 yards, then Schadler ran for 88 yards after nearly being tackled twice in the backfield. Hesston led 21-7.
On the Trojans’ next drive, Brown converted a third-down attempt with a quarterback keeper. Cody Delk reeled off 39 yards after catching a pass from Brown. A screen pass to Hilliard set up Hillsboro with second-and-1 at the 9-yard line, and Brown ran the ball in for the Trojans’ second touchdown. Hillsboro still trailed 21-14.
On the next drive, Hesston scored with a 34-yard pass from McKinney to Schadler. Hesston then recovered a Hillsboro fumble, and Schadler scored on an 11-yard run.
Hillsboro gained some yards after starting the next drive at the 1-yard line, but was forced to punt. On Hesston’s next drive, Ollenburger intercepted a pass and returned it to the Hesston 45-yard line with 5 seconds left in the first half. Brown’s hail Mary attempt was intercepted to end the half with Hillsboro trailing 35-14.
Schadler scored another rushing touchdown on Hesston’s first possession of the second half, and Hillsboro trailed 42-14.
Faul caught a pass for 38 yards after Brown scrambled away from a pass rush. A pass to Ollenburger and a keeper by Brown set Hillsboro up with first-and-goal at the 8-yard line. Brown was sacked on first down but made up the yardage with a 13-yard pass to Delk. Third down lost a couple of yards. Ollenburger was unable to bring in a pass from Brown on a corner route on fourth down, and Hillsboro turned the ball over on downs.
Schadler scored rushing touchdowns on two more Hesston possessions, increasing the Swathers’ lead to 56-14. Schadler finished the game with 420 yards rushing and six touchdowns, as well as 34 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Sawyer said Schadler won’t be the last good running back on the Trojans’ schedule.
Despite the big deficit, the Trojans didn’t roll over. Brown threw a 54-yard touchdown to Ollenburger with 1:15 left in the third quarter, cutting Hesston’s lead to 56-21. Because of the margin, a running clock was used in the fourth quarter.
After relieving Brown in the fourth quarter, Jakob Hanschu completed a pass to Preston Nelson for a 61-yard touchdown with 5:17 left in the game. An extra point by Leo Sontag made the score 56-28, which would be the final score.
After struggling to gain yards on the ground in the first three games, Hillsboro passed 100 yards rushing against Hesston. Sawyer’s game plan Friday used more designed quarterback runs for Brown. He converted several third-down tries carrying the ball instead of throwing it.
“We’ve got to be able to run the ball,” Sawyer said.
Jesse Brown: 17/32, 295 yards, 2 TDs.
Jakob Hanschu: 4/6, 51 yards, 1 TD.
J. Brown: 18 carries, 80 yards, 1 TD.
J. Hanschu: 2 carries, 19 yards.
Justus Hilliard: 2 carries, 5 yards.
Preston Nelson: 4 carries, 0 yards.
Evan Ollenburger: 8 receptions, 156 yards, 2 TDs.
Cody Delk: 5 receptions, 73 yards.
P. Nelson: 1 reception, 61 yards, 1 TD.
Jordan Faul: 2 receptions, 36 yards.
J. Hilliard: 5 receptions, 20 yards.
J. Hilliard: 7 kickoff returns, 96 yards.
J. Hanschu: 1 punt return, 21 yards.
E. Ollenburger: 1 kickoff return, 19 yards.
P. Nelson: 1 kickoff return, 8 yards.