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Cardinals too much for Trojans

Quick start fuels Hoisington past Hillsboro, 53-28

Staff writer

One week removed from a disheartening loss to Kingman, the Trojans football team could really have used a boost of confidence.

Sadly, a two-hour trip Friday night west to Hoisington was the wrong department to shop for it.

For 24 minutes of the second half, Hillsboro actually beat Hoisington, 21-20.

However, by the time the Trojans were able to get on the board early in the second quarter, the Cardinals had already pulled the rug out from under their feet by rolling up a 20-0 lead.

The Cardinals’ (2-1) powerful ground attack bowled Hillsboro over for 463 yards, steamrolling their way to a 53-28 win.

The Trojans tumble to 1-2 on the year with their second consecutive loss.

Five of the Cardinals’ 7 touchdowns and a combined 270 yards came from the tandem of Sean Urban and Wyatt Pedigo, with Urban’s game-high 138.

Nevertheless, Rudy Gearhart put Hoisington in the driver’s seat 7-0, capping the opening drive with a 5-yard touchdown.

Urban got half of his four touchdowns on back-to-back drives that stretched Hoisington’s lead to 20-0 barely into the second quarter.

Hillsboro enjoyed a short field with Brooks Gardner recovering a Cardinal fumble at the Hoisington 19.

With a season-high 228 yards passing on a 16-for-33 night, Kaden Kleiner broke up the shutout with his first of two touchdowns throwing, a 6-yard score to Jacob Funk.

Wes Shaw made for a 20-7 game with his PAT attempt, but touchdowns by Pedigo and Jake Curtis helped the Cardinals open a commanding 33-7 lead by halftime.

“Obviously I wasn’t happy with our first half performance,” Trojans coach Devin Metzinger said. “We didn’t play very assignment-sound football and it cost us some very big plays.”

One of those big plays came at the start of the second half with Pedigo taking off for a 41-yard touchdown to push the Cardinal lead to 39-7.

Hillsboro’s lone turnover was a costly one, with Kleiner throwing an interception.

That set the table for Urban to strike again, which he did, scoring on a 21-yard run for the 46-7 lead with 7:33 still left in the third.

The Trojans staved off a running clock with Kleiner capping a 51-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.

Urban finished the Cardinals scoring for the night, taking it in from 16 before Hillsboro was able to stage a rally.

Despite Hoisington limiting the Trojans to negative yardage on the ground and Kleiner to -6, he was still able to find the end zone from four out for the 53-21 score.

Against the Cardinals’ reserves, Hillsboro’s biggest play of the night made for the 53-28 final with Kleiner airing it out for Funk on a 41-yard touchdown.

Hampered by subpar third down conversions and PAT attempts, the Trojans improved to 54 percent on third down and Shaw going a perfect 4-for-4 on PAT kicks.

Darian Ratzlaff and Funk combined for 14 catches and 206 yards receiving, led by Ratzlaff’s game-high 110.

“At half we just got refocused and said we’re not leaving here without a fight,” Metzinger said. “The kids did a great job of coming out and putting together a few things the second half.

“We stay with the mindset of each week we have to get better, which I believe we were Friday night, than we were the week before, we’ll get better for next week.

Hillsboro hopes for better days Friday, hosting the dangerous Smoky Valley Vikings for homecoming.

Last modified Sept. 21, 2017

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