If it had worked, coach Lance Sawyer would’ve been declared a genius.
But a failed fake punt in Hillsboro’s territory on its first possession of the game led to a Smoky Valley touchdown, and the Vikings never looked back, spoiling the Trojans’ homecoming with a 35-12 victory.
Hillsboro faced fourth-and-10 from its own 42-yard line when it lined up in punt formation. However, the ball went to Tyson Reimer, who ran through the right side of the line but was stopped short of the first down.
It took Smoky Valley eight plays to turn the miscue into points, with Kyle Anderson scoring on a 4-yard run and tacking on the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Hillsboro again failed to convert on fourth down, as quarterback Kaden Kleiner was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Trojans 39.
The Vikings took advantage of the short field, with Anderson scoring on a 13-yard sweep for a 14-0 lead.
Hillsboro stalled on its next possession, and Carson Herbel’s punt took a favorable bounce to pin the Vikings inside the 1-yard line.
Three plays later, Jacob Funk intercepted a tipped pass, and the Trojans took over at the Vikings 14.
With Jorge Hanschu in at quarterback, the Trojans moved the ball to the 5, helped by a pass interference call. Hanschu kept the scoring chance alive by converting a fourth-and-1 play, setting the Trojans up on the Vikings 2 with four plays to score.
From there, things turned sour.
Funk dropped a touchdown pass on first down, then Hanschu tried running but got nowhere. An illegal motion penalty moved the ball back to the 7, and Braden Vogt dropped a potential scoring pass in the end zone. The Trojans backed up 5 more yards on a delay of game penalty, and a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
The Vikings took over and moved the ball to the Trojans 33. It appeared Hillsboro would take over after a Vikings fourth-down pass fell incomplete, but the Trojans were whistled for defensive holding.
Five plays later, the Vikings closed out the first half with a 3-yard Brett Heitschmidt touchdown, and Anderson scored the 2-point conversion. The Vikings led 22-0 at halftime.
The Vikings led 35-0 when Hillsboro finally put together a 73-yard, 7-play scoring drive, culminating with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Kleiner to Hanschu. The Trojans scored again on a 13-yard strike from Kleiner to Herbel as time expired.
Smoky Valley outgained Hillsboro 320 to 121 yards, with most of the Trojans’ production coming against the Vikings’ second string.
Hillsboro travels to Lyons on Friday, with both 0-5 teams looking to pick up their first win of the season.