Eagles spoil Trojans’ home opener
Kingman slows Hillsboro offense in 20-6 win
Out of six losses suffered a year ago by the Hillsboro football team, perhaps none stung worse than a controversial loss at Kingman in the second week.
Redemption was on the minds of the Trojans on Friday, nearly a year to the date later of the 31-30 heartbreaking overtime loss.
Outside of scoring on their first drive, little went right for the Trojans as turnovers, penalties, and fatigue allowed Kingman to foil Hillsboro’s home opener, 20-6.
“We’ve got to grow up and get stronger physically; they wore us out,” a disgruntled Trojans coach Devin Metzinger said. “They didn’t throw anything at us we hadn’t seen, we just didn’t execute.”
It certainly did the Trojans no favors that Eagles defenders spent a good part of the game speeding quarterback Kaden Kleiner up and out of rhythm, yielding just 203 total yards.
Combine that with four Hillsboro turnovers, a slew of penalties, missed chances, and a tiring Eagles ground attack, and the obstacles were too high for the Trojans to overcome.
Hillsboro appeared poised to get revenge on its first possession with Kleiner orchestrating a 10-play, 80-yard drive, aided by a 28-yard completion from Kleiner to Darian Ratzlaff.
Two plays later, Kleiner had the Trojans in front 6-0 after a 21-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes, 42 seconds left in the opening frame. Wes Shaw’s PAT attempt sailed wide left.
The Trojans averted disaster after fumbling on their second drive inside their own 20. Even with a gusting wind behind him, the Eagles’ Luis Franco’s 34-yard field goal attempt was no good.
The Eagles’ six-back onslaught, however, already had started taking its toll on Hillsboro’s defense in the second quarter.
Using a three-back tandem of quarterback Riley Krehbiel, John Molitor, and William Milford early, the Eagles punished the Trojans for 269 yards rushing and 302 total yards.
Krehbiel’s 4-yard touchdown nearly 2:00 into the second quarter would leave Hillsboro in a 7-6 hole it was never able to climb out of after the Franco PAT.
The Trojans gift-wrapped another Eagle touchdown with Kleiner fumbling the snap on the first play of their drive and Seth Siemens recovering at Hillsboro’s 25.
Two plays and nearly a minute later, Kingman’s lead increased to 14-6 with Krehbiel scoring his second touchdown on a 20-yard run as part of a team-high 109 rushing.
Danger of slipping further behind loomed on the ensuing kick with the Eagles recovering a live ball, which touched Raymond Johnson at Hillsboro’s 33.
Hillsboro eluded disaster with penalties and a sack by Collin Settle, forcing the drive to stall.
Despite spending much of his night on the run from Kingman’s blitzing defense, Kleiner still managed 118 yards rushing and 202 total.
Hillsboro had a good chance to cut into the Kingman lead by halftime with Kleiner ripping off a 34-yard gain to get to the Eagles 21.
Plagued by an ugly 2-for-10 on third downs and 1-of-4 on fourth, the Trojans were unable to keep the drive going and pull any closer, trailing 14-6 at the half.
The Trojans had another golden opportunity to get back in it on their second half opening drive with Kingman fumbling inside Hillsboro territory.
Going 5-of-16 passing for 84 yards, Kleiner’s longest bombs of the night accounted for 37 to the lanky Jacob Funk and had the Trojans knocking at the Eagle 21.
That collapsed also with Ratzlaff unable to haul in a catch on fourth down.
Ratzlaff nearly made up for it on the next Kingman drive, picking off a Krehbiel pass and nearly taking it all the way before being pulled down at the Kingman 2.
Any chance at a comeback was dashed when Hillsboro fumbled on the first play and Kingman recovering.
From there, Kingman more less wore out the gassed Trojan defense, using a fake punt to put the finishing touches on a miserable night.
Molitor closed the game with 3:50 left on a 7-yard touchdown for the final.
The road gets no easier for the 1-1 Trojans Friday as they trek west to Hoisington for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Last modified Sept. 14, 2017