Winless Hillsboro got off to a disastrous start against Hesston on Friday, giving up 110 yards and two touchdowns in the first minute of the game, as the Trojans fell to 0-7 with a 56-14 loss.
Anticipating the larger Threshers would rely on the ground game, Hesston caught the Trojans flat-footed when they came out passing. The Threshers scored on their first play from scrimmage with a 60-yard strike, and after forcing the Trojans into a three-and-out, scored on a 50-yard pass on their second play of the game.
After recovering a fumble at the Hillsboro 42, Hesston scored again four plays later, this time on a 24-yard pass. Another passing touchdown, this one 35 yards, and a 22-yard interception return for a score put the Threshers ahead 35-0 with 2 minutes, 39 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Hillsboro trailed 49-0 with 2:55 left in the second quarter when the Trojans finally mounted a 70-yard, six-play scoring drive. Jorge Hanschu, starting in place of injured quarterback Kaden Kleiner, covered the final 32-yards on a sweep around right end for the touchdown.
With the clock running in the second half, the Trojans tacked on another score on an 11-yard pass from Hanschu to Joe Knoll.
“We came in knowing we needed to stop the run, and they didn’t run for the first ten plays,” coach Lance Sawyer said. “We just weren’t ready at the beginning of the game. We didn’t execute our defense. We had coverage; we just didn’t execute.”
Sawyer said Hanschu got more comfortable as the game progressed, and the Trojans adjusted to play to Hanschu’s strengths.
“With his speed, we had to get him to the outside a bit,” Sawyer said. “His vision is better outside the pocket.”
The Trojans are 0-1 in district play, and will need an upset against 6-1 Southeast of Saline on Friday to keep their postseason hopes alive.
“They’re very similar to Hesston,” Sawyer said. “They’re both good teams, they both have big lines. I don’t know if they’ll come out throwing like Hesston did, but we’ve got to be able to stop the run, too.”