Hillsboro dominates Sterling
There were plenty of big plays Friday in the Hillsboro Trojans’ season-opening 54-20 thrashing of Sterling at Joel H. Wiens Stadium. Two epitomized the air of confidence that fueled the team all game long.
In the first quarter, the Trojans faced fourth-and-five at the Sterling 29, after taking the opening kickoff and driving from their own 32. Quarterback Justus Hilliard had never thrown a pass in competition, but the senior rolled to his right and connected with Jakob Hanschu at the 8. Hanschu found his way to the endzone to stake the Trojans to an early 7-0 lead.
The second was a play that fans saw, but the Trojans felt. Sterling faced a third-and-1 on the opening drive of the second half, and the Black Bears called a running play that worked well for them in the first half.
This time, senior Cody Craney blew the play apart, stuffing the Sterling back for no gain. It brought up fourth-and-1, and Sterling’s attempted pass fell incomplete.
Hillsboro head coach Lance Sawyer said Craney’s play was one of the game’s biggest.
“I thought that was one of the turning points,” Sawyer said. “We knew we had the game after that. That was big for our defense — we haven’t gotten many of those in the last year and a half.”
While the play sparked a defensive shutout of Sterling in the second half, the offense added three more touchdowns to the 28-14 lead Hillsboro had at halftime to extend the lead to 47-14. Hilliard closed out the scoring by stripping the ball from a Sterling player and running 70 yards for a touchdown.
Sawyer said he emphasized attitude before the game, and his players responded.
“I think they came out with a sense of pride,” Sawyer said. “They’ve been practicing well, they’ve been playing well. I told them they need to come out with a bit of arrogance.”
That arrogance showed in the team total yardage statistics. Hillsboro amassed 406 yards of total offense, while the Trojan defense held the Black Bears to 181 yards.
Hilliard ran for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first game at quarterback. Hanschu had 72 rushing yards, and Tyson Reimer had 37.
Hanschu was Hilliard’s favorite target, pulling in 3 passes for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns. David Dick had 2 catches, one of them for a touchdown.
“Jakob Hanschu and David Dick, nobody can say enough about what they did. They got us that lead at the beginning. They went up and made plays that weren’t there,” Sawyer said.
Last modified Sept. 11, 2014