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Trojans’ season ends on sour note

SES blanks Hillsboro 52-0

Staff writer

With any mountain range a lengthy distance away, an avalanche in Kansas is as realistic as a blizzard in Africa.

That is, unless you’re the Hillsboro Trojans, who got buried under one in Thursday night’s football season finale in frigid, windy Gypsum against the Trojans of Southeast of Saline.

The enemy Trojans exploded out of the gate to a commanding 18-0 lead after the first quarter to turn Hillsboro’s last game into a 52-0 debacle.

The loss ends the injury-riddled season at 1-8 overall.

Of the eight losses, five were against 2017 postseason qualifiers Marion, Hesston, Halstead, Hoisington, and Smoky Valley.

With nothing but pride left to play for, SES quarterback Hunter White torched the Trojans for 260 total yards and five first half touchdowns to give SES a 46-0 lead at the break.

White’s game-high 166 yards rushing were 8 short of the Trojans’ entire offensive output.

“We knew the quarterback would give us problems; in the films we saw we could see how he could take over games with his athleticism,” Hillsboro coach Devin Metzinger said. “For sure it was not what we expected and never how we want our seniors to leave.”

What Hillsboro essentially got was a final reminder of everything that had caused them problems throughout the season, all rolled into one game.

Seven of the purple-clad Trojans’ eight first-half drives ended in touchdowns, with a march toward an eighth cut short by halftime.

The best thing that happened for Hillsboro was thwarting SES on five of seven two-point conversion attempts.

Outside that, the Trojans never threatened until the final possession.

Hillsboro quarterback Kaden Kleiner’s struggled for 5-of-26 passing for 65 yards and 36 yards rushing, along with two interceptions which led to SES points.

Hillsboro gained a season-low 174 total yards, with Caleb Potucek posting a team-high 59 yards rushing on 13 carries.

The Trojans had one last chance to score late in the game with Kleiner and Jacob Funk connecting on a fourth-and-7 from the SES 35.

The duo appeared to break up the shutout, but Funk’s 22-yard touchdown catch was ruled out of bounds.

Along with Kleiner and Funk, and, Thursday marked the final game for Brodie Rathbone, Kaden Ward, Collin Settle, Westin Etheridge, Samuel Damon, and Justin Siebert, with Elliott Ollenburger and Jaden Priest sidelined all season by injuries.

“I have all the respect in the world for our seniors,” Metzinger said. “They’ve had to go through a lot this year with the 1-8 record, the key injuries we’ve faced, and day-in and day-out they came to prepare and compete.

“They never once complained about it, they just kept working. For all of them, I know it’s not the senior year they envisioned, but they just kept after it. For that, I’m very proud.”

Last modified Nov. 1, 2017

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