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Spartans use turnovers to eliminate Hillsboro

Collegiate shuts out Trojans, 48-0

Sports writer

Being located in the Central Plains region, Kansas is a long way from any mountain range.

Unfortunately, the Trojans found themselves buried under an avalanche Saturday night in Wichita, in the regional round of the Class 3A state football playoffs.

The “avalanche” came in the form of a superior, more athletic, and taller Collegiate Spartan team.

The Spartans left little doubt they want to be a team to contend for a state title, shutting down a high-powered Hillsboro passing attack in a 48-0 shutout.

The Trojans’ season ends at 7-4 with a regional runner-up trophy.

“I watched a lot of film on them (Collegiate) this week and how they’ve improved. They’re hitting on all cylinders right now,” a sullen Trojan coach Max Heinrichs said. “That could be your state champion right there. They’ve got a lot of offense and they play very good defense.”

In a game some may have thought would be a shootout between Spartan quarterback Blake Jablonski and Hillsboro’s Jacob Fish, the quicker, taller Collegiate defense made sure the night belonged to Jablonski.

“I thought our athletes probably matched up pretty well, but they’re 4 to 6 inches taller than we are and they’re just bigger at every spot,” Heinrichs said. “That’s just what caused it — they’re well prepared, they’re well coached, and we just didn’t play as well as we could have.”

Jablonski completed 11-of-16 for a game-high 315 yards and five touchdowns — three of the 11 and two of the five to Brett LeMaster.

Fish’s final game in a Trojan uniform was a tough one with six interceptions — five less than his total completions — with four picks alone to LeMaster, along with a fumble.

Seven turnovers made the perfect recipe for disaster, and outside of stopping Collegiate on its first drive, the Trojans were challenged as to how to stop the Spartans.

Collegiate had the win mailed in by halftime with the final margin as the score.

Four of Fish’s first six passes were interceptions, and Collegiate had few complications moving the ball from anywhere on the field.

The first interception to LeMaster set up the Spartans at the Trojan 32.

Three minutes into the game Collegiate grabbed a 6-0 lead with Jablonski hitting LeMaster on the first play.

Junior Ethan Frantz’s blocked PAT attempt was one of the few things that worked in Hillsboro’s favor.

Even before the first quarter ended, the Spartans had an 18-0 head start with Collegiate cashing in on two Hillsboro turnovers.

The Trojans gave the Spartans all the ingredients they needed to break open the game early, giving Collegiate great field position.

LeMaster returned an interception 27 yards for the second touchdown and Jablonski went long for Brandon Searle for a 50-yard touchdown to open up the 18-0 lead nearly five minutes into the game.

Prior to the contest, Heinrichs saw Hillsboro’s ability to run the ball effectively as key to knocking off the Spartans.

That too was sabotaged with Collegiate limiting the Trojans to just 33 yards rushing and 168 total yards while the Spartans punished Hillsboro for 388.

The Spartans’ height paid off in the passing game with 6-foot-6 receiver Tre Bailey hauling in four catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Bailey got 59 of the 97 yards on one catch, which Collegiate used to extend its lead to 34-0 early in the second quarter.

Hillsboro made it past midfield twice, and never inched closer to the end zone than the Spartan 20.

The Spartans rested the starters the second half, and the Trojans posed a threat.

“We thought we could do some things on offense because their line didn’t look so good,” Heinrichs said of the Spartan defense. “Their line is pretty good. Our kids fought the whole time, and that’s what makes me proud of them. It was a good season.”

Graduation will hit Hillsboro hard in 2010 with the loss of such standouts as Fish, wideouts Jacob Edwards and Taylor Hagen, and lineman Neal Kaiser.

However, with the return of many key stars like Ben Bebermeyer, Chance Reece, Frantz, and Luke Moore, as well as Heinrichs, the Trojans have plenty of reason to look ahead.

“When I did take the job, I thought we were better than what people would expect,” Heinrichs said. “I liked our talent and some of the things I saw. They just came along and played. I’ve got a great senior bunch.

“It’s too bad we had to lose this way because they had fun clear to the end. It’s been really good, even with the loss to Marion. I like this team a lot and I think we could even get better.”

Sedgwick game

Fish threw for a career-high 377 yards and four touchdowns Nov. 3 to help the hosting Trojans keep their season going, outlasting Sedgwick, 35-28, in the bi-district round of the Class 3A football playoffs.

Fish completed 19 of 31 passes with a game-high 150 yards and one touchdown to Bebermeyer and two scores and 110 yards to Jacob Edwards.

Hillsboro took a 7-6 lead on its second drive and maintained the lead the entire game, despite the Cardinals tying the score twice.

All-state Cardinal running back Wade Hansen carried 32 times for a game-high 249 yards and two touchdowns, one coming from stripping Hillsboro of the ball and returning it 75 yards for the score.

Last modified Nov. 11, 2009

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