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Dragons scald Trojans

Halstead hands Hillsboro fourth straight loss, 56-17

Staff writer

A second win was on the line for somebody Friday night in Hillsboro with the Trojans taking on the Halstead Dragons.

A team that began the season highly ranked in Class 3A, the Dragons had since fallen on hard times, dropping three of their last four games.

Meanwhile, the Trojans were looking to snap a three-game skid, along with trying to figure out how to get more offense from somebody other than quarterback Kaden Kleiner.

Brooks Gardner rushed for a season-game-high 127 yards, however that meant little as the Dragons used a quick start and 32 unanswered points to cruise to a punishing 56-17 win.

“We’re still working to play more assignment sound football,” Trojans coach Devin Metzinger said. “We’ve been saying we need to get more offense from somebody other than Kaden and Brooks did a great job tonight.”

The loss drops Hillsboro to 1-4 on the year and 1-4 in CKL play.

Bad things were in store for the Trojans from the get-go with Halstead’s Aric Propst taking off for a 58-yard touchdown on the third play of the game.

Scott Grider finished the drive with a two-point conversion, and 1:04 into the game Hillsboro’s descent had begun, 8-0.

Of the Dragons’ eight drives that occurred without the running clock, seven added up to points and Hillsboro was looking at a 16-0 incline before getting on the board with under 1:00 left in the first quarter.

Gardner supplied 30 of his 127 yards on the drive, including a 20-yarder that set the Trojans up at the Dragon 30.

Facing fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, 260-pound guard Wes Shaw checked into the backfield and barreled his way into the end zone before cutting the lead to 16-7 with a PAT kick.

Any momentum Hillsboro had vanished on the ensuing kickoff with Propst taking it back 98 yards and pushing Halstead’s lead to 24-7 with 36 seconds still left in the first quarter.

The Trojans were quick to respond, though, with Gardner ripping off gains of 19 and 20 yards in an 80-yard, 10-play drive.

Gardner capped the drive punching it in from two and Shaw’s PAT gave Hillsboro new life, trailing 24-14 with 7:57 left in the first half.

The Trojans got a golden gift with the Dragons fumbling on the first play of the next drive.

Gardner pounced on the loose ball, setting Hillsboro up at the Dragon 16.

The drive went backward, leaving the Trojans with a fourth-and-long at the 20.

Metzinger opted for a field goal, and Shaw got Hillsboro as close as it would ever get the remainder of the game, 24-17, booting a 36-yarder with less than seven minutes left before halftime.

The game began to sink right after that with Grider scoring two of his three touchdowns to help Halstead open a 40-17 halftime lead.

Tragedy struck Hillsboro on the first play of the second half with Kleiner suffering an injury and not returning to action.

Kleiner still managed to account for 42 yards rushing and 44 passing as part of the Trojans’ 219 total yards.

Gardner finished the play out before Darian Ratzlaff took over with the Trojans well out of striking distance.

Little seemed to work, as Hillsboro made it past midfield only once in the final 23:36 of the game.

The Trojans travel Friday to Haven for a 7PM meeting with the Wildcats.

Last modified Oct. 4, 2017

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