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Cardinals' running game overwhelms Hillsboro

Trojans lose to Hoisington, 40-8

Sports writer

Stopping the Hoisington Cardinals consists of one thing: solving the perplexing puzzle of their ground game.

Heading into Friday night’s game against the hosting Cardinals, Trojan coach Max Heinrichs saw his team’s ability to pass and protect the keys to the game.

The Trojans, with four wins and two losses, could pass with Jacob Fish throwing for a game and career-high 313 yards on 21-for-45, distributing the ball to eight different receivers.

But their ineffectiveness to both stop and run the ball left them tumbling, 40-8.

The 5-1 Cardinals stung Hillsboro for 291 yards rushing with Tanner Klug running rampant for a game-high 186 yards off 25 carries.

The Trojans spent most of the game dodging bullets, stopping the Cardinals on their first two drives.

Only Hoisington used time-consuming drives to keep the Trojan offense off the field, finally grabbing an 8-0 lead with 8:47 left in the first half with Corey Engstrom scoring from the 2.

Hillsboro had its chances, going 1-for-4 inside the Cardinal 20, but four turnovers combined with the challenge of effectively running the ball dashed any hope of the Trojans staying close.

The Trojans finished with a modest 14 yards rushing on 14 carries and 327 total yards.

Of the Cardinals’ 40 points, 16 of them came off Trojan mistakes and by halftime, Hillsboro was out of the game, trailing 24-0.

Ben Bebermeyer caught six passes for a game and career-high 145 yards, including a 31-yard gain that had Hillsboro threatening midway through the first half at the 17.

Fish was 0-for-4 after the big completion to Bebermeyer, and the Trojans turned the ball over on downs at the Cardinal 8.

Hoisington used trickery with a double handoff and Klug took off for a 41-yard gain to set up another touchdown.

One play later, the Trojan deficit extended to 16-0 with Klug slipping around the right side for an 11-yard touchdown.

Hillsboro gift-wrapped another touchdown 15 seconds later with Fish floating a pass to Justin Broeder.

The Cardinals capitalized on great field position as Dan Riedl barreled up the middle for a 16-yard run, increasing the lead to 24-0 with 2:07 still left in the first half.

Fish continued firing on the next drive, completing a 19-yard pass to Taylor Hagen, and a 13-yarder to Luke Moore, to get into Cardinal territory.

A questionable fumble squashed any chance of Hillsboro getting any points.

Hoisington drove all the way down to the Trojan 7-yard-line before missing a field goal to close out the first half.

The Trojans’ best starting point — the Cardinal 39 — turned out to be all for naught.

Facing a third-and-11 at the 40, Fish went deep for Bebermeyer for a 34-yard gain to set up first-and-goal at the 6.

Once again, Hoisington caused the drive to stall at the 5.

Another great opportunity was missed by the Trojans on their next drive, starting at their own 47 with Hoisington helping Hillsboro with pass interference and personal foul calls.

Hillsboro couldn’t finish that drive either, fizzling out at the 8.

The Cardinals continued to pound the ball at Hillsboro, steamrolling 92 yards in 12 plays, capped by a 10-yard run by Zeb Sanders with 5:26 remaining.

By the time the Trojans finally got on the board, they were out of striking distance, trailing 32-0.

Fish was a perfect 4-for-4 with 25- and 27-yard completions to Bebermeyer to get Hillsboro to the 11.

Matt Yoder finally answered, taking it in from the 3 to cap a 68-yard drive.

Fish and Bebermeyer connected for a two-point conversion, closing the Cardinal lead to 32-8 with 3:30 to go.

Hoisington tacked on one more touchdown late in the game with reserve Taylor Stumma scoring on a 9-yard run.

The Trojans face another stiff test Friday, hosting Bryan Beneke and the powerful Southeast of Saline Trojans in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Wiens Stadium.

SES decimated the Lyons Lions — one of Hillsboro’s two losses —42-14.

Last modified Oct. 15, 2009

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