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Big plays lead Halstead over Hillsboro

News editor

In consecutive games, the Hillsboro Trojans have allowed a touchdown on an opponent’s first play of the second half. The first was against Haven. Friday it was against Halstead.

The Dragons’ Blake Beckett followed that 44-yard score with a 30-yard touchdown jaunt on Halstead’s next possession, turning what had been a tightly contested battle into a 57-27 rout of Hillsboro at Halstead.

“We allow way too many big plays,” Hillsboro head coach Lance Sawyer said.

Four Halstead touchdowns were on plays of 19 yards or more, and long plays set up shorter scores. The prior week, Haven’s touchdowns all resulted from plays 18 yards and longer, with two over 50 yards.

Halstead’s big plays weren’t due to a lack of effort by the Trojans, Sawyer said.

“The kids battled tonight, I thought they played hard,” he said. “There were points in the game where they could’ve given up, but they didn’t. If we’re going to take a positive, it’s that.”

Sawyer’s concern is that the Trojans weren’t following through with their defensive schemes.

“We’ve got to get the kids to start playing more assignments on defense than playing by reaction,” he said.

Hillsboro’s offense got back on track, rolling up 158 yards and two scores passing, and 144 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. But the Trojans’ inability to move the ball early in the third quarter after trailing 14-22 at the half let the Dragons build a comfortable lead.

“We weren’t able to get a drive going in the second half early to make sure we stayed with them,” Sawyer said. “We got down 20. I thought the kids kept battling, but we’ve got to make the drives.”

Halstead opened the game with a 62-yard touchdown drive, and led 6-0 after the two-point conversion attempt failed.

Hillsboro reached the Halstead 45 on its first possession before misfiring on a third-and 13 pass. Jeffrey Jorgenson’s punt was downed by Jakob Hanschu at the Halstead 1.

The Trojans defense forced the Dragons’ only three-and-out series of the game, and a bad punt gave the Trojans the ball at the Halstead 27.

With senior Jesse Meier filling in at running back for an injured Tyson Reimer, the Trojans drove to the 6. David Dick scored on a pass from Justus Hilliard, and Jorgenson’s extra point gave Hillsboro a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter.

Halstead regained the lead, 14-7, but Hilliard countered with a 1-yard touchdown run, and Jorgenson kicked the extra point to tie the game with 6 minutes, 31 seconds left before the half.

The Dragons outscored the Trojans 43-13 the rest of the game.

“That’s a team we can play with, that’s a team we should play with, but we just can’t give up big plays like we did,” Sawyer said. “We were down 10 points with a 2-point conversion to make it one score. We missed the onside kick barely, and we just went downhill from there.”

Hillsboro will host Hoisington for homecoming Friday in Hillsboro.

Last modified Sept. 25, 2014

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