Hillsboro Trojans trample Yates Center
Trojans explode into postseason mauling Wildcats, 75-20
A potentially dangerous situation awaited the Trojan football team Friday night in Hillsboro in the opening round of the Class 1A state playoffs.
Think past Yates Center to their upcoming opponent, perennial powerhouse Pittburg-Colgan, and get shocked since the Wildcats had nothing to lose.
Only until the flood gates opened on the Wildcats, which they quickly did, leading to a 75-20 beating by the Trojans.
The 55-point margin equaled that of the Colgan Panthers’ 70-15 destruction of the Wildcats earlier in the year.
The blowout keeps 7-2 Hillsboro alive to trek three hours southeast for a meeting with the Panthers, also 7-2.
“We talked to the guys all week and before the game telling them they’ve earned the right to host a playoff game and keep playing,” Trojan coach Devin Metzinger said. “I’m very proud of them.
“We came out and performed right away and took the fight right to them. You never want to end your season like that, but we unfortunately have been there, too.”
Outside grabbing a 7-6 lead on the ensuing kickoff after Brooks Gardner scored one of his two touchdowns with a 95-yard return by Kendrick Jones, the night couldn’t have gone any worse for the undermanned Wildcats.
The Wildcats even spotted Hillsboro 22 points with four giveaways, while getting steamrolled for 492 yards.
Few Trojan drives took more than four tries to get in the end zone, with Hillsboro scoring on 8 of its 9 first-half drives, including two of the Wildcats.
It started with Jorge Hanschu lighting out for an 80-yard sprint up the middle, to fuel a 42-point first quarter explosion.
All the Trojans’ weapons were firing, including freshman Jamari Harris, who scored a trio of touchdowns with a pair rushing and one reception to finish with 75 total yards.
Hillsboro torched the Wildcats on all sides of the ball, even on special teams, with Darian Ratzlaff taking a punt-return back 76 yards for a 50-7 lead barely a minute into the second quarter.
Harris got 42 of his 62 yards rushing bolting up the middle unscathed to stretch Hillsboro to 56-7 with 8:24 left in the first half.
The first half couldn’t have been over soon enough for the Wildcats, who were buried under a 63-7 avalanche by the time they got relief in the form of a running clock and Hillsboro’s reserves the second half.
Freshman Matthew Potucek joined in on the beatdown the second half, scoring on runs of 65- and 33-yards to finish with 98 rushing off his only two carries.
Gardner paced the 382-yard ground attack with 109 yards on 13 carries while Hanschu added 99 more on four carries.
Defensively, along with the four takeaways, the Trojans limited Yates Center to a paltry 123 yards and just six first downs.
“We haven’t gotten to see anything of them yet obviously,” Metzinger said of the Panthers. “They have a storied tradition, they’re always good and they’re having another good year.
Friday’s action begins at 7 p.m. at Pitt State University’s Carnie-Smith Stadium.