Hillsboro derails Herington, 48-6
Some may have thought the skies surrounding Hillsboro High School’s hope for a post-season bid clouded up last week with the Trojans losing to Southeast of Saline.
Super-back Ishmael Morris suffered a dislocated finger and a bad laceration late in the game, at the time putting his high school career in peril.
Much to the Trojans’ delights and opponents’ dismay, Morris was back on the field Friday night with Hillsboro needing a win against Herington to keep its playoff hopes alive.
With barely 20 players on the roster, the Railers have struggled just to compete, much less win, and Morris wasn’t somebody they needed to see.
Morris scored three touchdowns as the Trojans (5-3, 1-1 district) made short work of the Railers, 48-6.
“A good cure to your ailments is to get a win sometimes,” Trojan coach Len Coryea said. “We needed a win. Our confidence wasn’t very high (after the SES loss).
“It was pretty quiet in practice this week; the air is knocked out of us, our feelings were hurt. I was real pleased, it was a good team game tonight.
“I was glad Ishmael was back, and I think that’s the first thing [Herington] said ‘I thought he’s gone’. That kind of demoralizes you when you get off the bus and he’s out there.”
Morris did more than demoralize the Railers, he demolished them, running rampant for a game-high 111 yards — 43 yards more than Herington’s entire offensive output.
All Morris needed to join Michael Suderman and Jake Yoder as the Trojans’ third consecutive back to rush for 1000 yards in a season was 30 yards.
He nearly got it on the first of a barrage of Hillsboro touchdowns, sweeping around the left side for a 25-yard score on the Trojans’ first play of the game.
The game spun out of control for the Railers within the first five minutes, as Hillsboro led 14-0 with a blocked punt and an interception by Daniel Jost.
Hillsboro sprinted to a 27-0 lead, scoring on all six of its first-half drives.
Not one drive started any deeper than the Trojans’ own 37.
Twice Herington crossed midfield, giving Hillsboro plenty of help, too, as the Railers managed a paltry two first downs the entire contest.
Jost’s first of back-to-back interceptions set up a 16-yard touchdown catch from Ben Gottsch with 6:54 left in the first quarter.
Morris added a second touchdown at the 4:15 mark of the first quarter set up by Jost’s second pick.
The lone flaw of Hillsboro’s game was Jacob Wiebe’s PAT kick being blocked.
The lead stretched to 27-0 with Gottsch again hooking up with Jost for an 11-yard touchdown just less than a minute left in the first quarter.
Morris ripped off a 36-yard gain on the Trojans’ next drive, setting up a first-and-goal on the one with Hillsboro converting on fourth-and-long.
Two plays later, Gottsch punched it in to give Hillsboro a 34-0 lead with 8:07 left in the first half.
With 4:03 still left in the first half, Morris had plenty of time to strike again, which he did, aided by a 21-yard completion from Gottsch to Tyler Jones.
Morris capped off his night slipping in unscathed from the 16, making it a 41-0 game by halftime.
Next to a 37-yard touchdown completion from Railer quarterback Lance Shriver to Tyler Barber with a minute left in the game, the biggest gift Herington was able to enjoy was a continuous clock the second half.
Chris Couts got in on the destruction of Herington as well, cutting loose for a 23-yard touchdown run with 7:11 left in the third quarter.
Gottsch was 6-8 in the air for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
While Southeast of Saline ransacked the Trojans a week earlier, they also have a reason to thank SES for shocking Friday’s opponent, the Marion Warriors.
The stakes will be high in Hillsboro at 7 p.m. with the Warriors and the Trojans battling for a ticket to the state playoffs.
“We just needed another shot of adrenaline now,” Coryea of SES beating Marion said. “I think that just gives us a chance. I told the guys I don’t know what our outcome of the season will be. You’ve just got to make it a memory and make some personal plays.”