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Swathers steamroll Trojans 56-14

News editor

When football players exhort each other to “win the half” as the second half kickoff approaches, it’s a certain sign the first half didn’t go their way.

Hillsboro took an early 7-0 lead Friday against undefeated Hesston, but buckled under the weight of a 35-point first-quarter barrage by the Swathers, falling 56-14 at Hesston.

After a three-and-out on their first offensive series, the Trojans took the ball back when David Dick streaked in front of a Swathers receiver for an interception at the Hillsboro 39.

Quarterback Justus Hilliard completed passes to Dick and Jakob Hanschu as the Trojans moved to the Swather 44. A Hesston pass interference penalty move the ball to the Hesston 29. Hilliard then broke through the middle of the line, shed would-be Swathers tacklers at the 16, and raced to the end zone for the score. Jeffrey Jorgenson kicked the extra point to put Hillsboro ahead 7-0 with 8 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

It took Hesston only a minute to respond, with a lightning-quick 63-yard drive capped off by 7-yard scoring run by Grant Raleigh, the first of four touchdowns the Swather quarterback scored while gashing the Trojan defense for 264 yards rushing. The conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 7-6.

Through the remaining 5 minutes of the first quarter, the Swathers scored four more touchdowns on possessions that lasted 11, 51, 36, and 3 seconds. Raleigh returned a punt from the Swathers 35 to the Trojans 2 in the waning seconds of the quarter, and Daniel Fulghum’s 2-yard plunge and subsequent extra point completed the 35-point deluge.

Hillsboro’s second score came late in the fourth quarter against the Hesston reserves. Hilliard carried the load, including runs of 39 yards and a 12-yard touchdown run at 3:45 remaining. Jorgenson’s PAT was the final score in the 56-14 loss.

We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” head coach Lance Sawyer said. “The effort was there, we just looked intimidated at times.

Hesston held a decided size advantage on the line, with players from 200 to 288 pounds making it tough on the Trojans on both sides of the ball, even when Hillsboro executed well.

“Scheme-wise I thought we did OK, but they’re good,” Sawyer said. “There’s a reason they’re 7-0 right now and one of the top teams in the state. We just couldn’t push them around tonight.”

Sawyer took some solace from his team’s performance in the second half.

“We had two really good drives and we converted on one of them,” Sawyer said. “The kids showed some pride and they didn’t quit. That’s always a positive.”

It won’t be any easier when Hillsboro hosts Southeast of Saline this Friday. The SES Trojans have won their last four games by a combined score of 180-14. Sawyer said it’s important for his Trojans to put the Hesston game behind them.

“We can’t look back now,” Sawyer said. “We’ve got two games left and we need to win them both. We need to be ready for next week, so we can’t dwell on this too much. We have to get better.”

Last modified Oct. 22, 2014

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