Trojans defeat Southeast of Saline, 26-12
Hillsboro passes first district test, derailing SES, 26-12
Heading into the most important portion of their schedule — district play — it wouldn’t have been absurd to pick the Trojans as underdogs against the Southeast of Saline Trojans Friday night.
After all, the visiting SES team was unbeaten, not to mention it destroyed Lyons, a team that dealt Hillsboro a heart-wrenching setback.
However, four turnovers with only two touchdowns is more than enough to topple the best of teams, and SES found out firsthand with the Trojans benefiting from SES mistakes to surprise SES, 26-12.
Hillsboro’s running game isn’t too shabby, but when quarterback Jacob Fish is on, the Trojans are a tough team to stop.
“We knew we could pass. We’re beat up. We knew we probably couldn’t pass as well as we could, but we like our passing game if we just get the right reads,” an ecstatic Trojan coach Max Heinrichs said. “They (SES) stayed in that cover-three and that just helped us a ton.”
SES had caused troubles not only for Hillsboro throughout the years, but for Heinrichs, too, dating back to his days at Minneapolis.
Playing in his final regular season game at Wiens Stadium, Fish made it a memorable one, throwing for a game-high 256 yards and four touchdowns on 16-of-25 — with two TDs to Ben Bebermeyer.
Bebermeyer had eight catches for a game-high 121 yards to lead the six Trojans who caught passes.
The Trojans found out more than they wanted to know about SES standout Bryant Beneke last year as the explosive quarterback put up 228 yards in a 32-12 blowout.
Beneke nearly did the same thing again, running for a game-high 226 yards on 48 carries and both SES touchdowns.
He carried the ball six times on Southeast’s opening drive, leaving the Trojans in a 6-0 hole after scoring on a 13-yard touchdown nearly 6:30 into the game.
Beneke tried for a two-point conversion, but Hillsboro denied him to leave the score at 6-0.
Hillsboro did little offensively for a good portion of the first half, moving backwards on its first three drives while committing a trio of penalties, and turning the ball over once.
Southeast was in the Trojan backfield much of the first half, holding Hillsboro to negative 13 yards rushing and Fish to a negative 44.
The Trojans’ defense staved off disaster though, dashing five possible scoring drives for SES, causing them to stall inside Hillsboro territory.
The purple Trojans gave Hillsboro its best field position of the first half with a muffed punt return at the SES 36.
Bebermeyer pounced on the loose ball and the Trojans made SES pay for the mistake.
Fish hit Bebermeyer for a 14-yard gain — 25 on the drive — and SES gave Hillsboro a boost with pass interference, the Trojans’ first first down of the game at the 9:44 mark.
The penalties hindered the drive, leaving Hillsboro looking at a fourth-and-1 after the 14-yard completion.
Filling in for the injured Chance Reece, Matt Yoder’s 2-yard run had the Trojans at the two-yard line, and Fish put Hillsboro on top two plays later, hitting Bebermeyer for a 2-yard score.
Ethan Frantz made it a 7-6 game with just less than eight minutes left in the first half.
SES answered right back with Beneke carrying nine more times, plunging in from the 3 to regain the lead, 12-7, with 3:44 remaining in the half.
Again, the two-point conversion failed with Beneke’s pass falling incomplete.
SES made a donation again — the second of three first-half turnovers — with Frantz hammering Beneke and Dylan Delk recovering the fumble at the SES 42.
Fish wasted little time — six seconds — in putting Hillsboro back on top, 14-12, firing to Jacob Edwards for a 42-yard touchdown with 2:02 still to go.
Luke Moore was responsible for the third turnover, intercepting Beneke at the SES 46.
Hillsboro couldn’t take advantage of it, leaving the score at a surprising 14-12 at halftime, but SES never scored again.
The SES pass coverage continued to kill it, giving Fish good opportunities to make things happen.
That he did, hitting Bebermeyer for a 23-yard gain and Yoder for a 29-yard gain to give the Trojans a first-and-goal at the 5.
Fish fired to Bebermeyer again, and Hillsboro increased its lead to 20-12 on the opening drive of the second half with SES blocking the PAT kick.
“The line started doing their job more and we started making some reads in the second half,” Fish said. “They gave us some openings and we were able to take advantage of them.
“They (SES) tried to take away the middle more. This was a big win for our playoff chances.”
SES had two more chances to overcome the lead, stalling both times inside the Hillsboro 25.
Senior Taylor Hagen has made significant contributions all year, but none was as big as his touchdown with 3:28 left in the game, which made it a two-possession game for SES.
Facing a fourth-and-long at the SES 19, Fish found Hagen in traffic on the 384 play for the final margin.
Hillsboro’s PAT kick was again no good, but SES was in dire straits.
Delk put the game away on the ensuing drive, intercepting Beneke at the SES 48.
“They started shooting their backers out to take away some of that underneath stuff. That’s when we came back inside,” Heinrichs said. “I’m glad Hagen finally got a touchdown. We’ve got a good motor and we’ve got a good spirit. It was our last home game. We asked the kids to come and play and defend this thing, and they came out and they did it.
“We sold out on everything. I’m from Minneapolis. It’s always nice to beat the purple Trojans. This is a bitter rivalry for this cat. You don’t even know how happy I am.”
The Trojans travel to struggling Herington Friday in a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Last modified Oct. 22, 2009