Trojans snap losing streak, secure homecoming victory

Staff writer

The atmosphere at Hillsboro’s Friday night homecoming game was electric, and so were the Trojans, defeating Haven 36-30 to break a four-game skid.

The skies were clear, the low ’50s temperature finally felt like fall and decidedly football-esque, and the Trojans came in with a real opportunity for their first win since their season opener victory against Lyons.

The Trojans’ opponent, the Haven Wildcats held the same 1-4 record as Hillsboro, with their only victory coming just one week earlier, also against Lyons. The Wildcats made it clear that the Trojans would have to fight hard for that elusive second win.

Haven needed only two plays on their first drive to score on a 2-yard run that followed a 65-yard pass play. After a failed 2-point conversion attempt, the Wildcats led 6-0.

The Trojans then put together an 8-play, 68-yard scoring drive of their own. Jorge Hanschu capped off the drive with a 29-yard touchdown run. Jeffrey Jorgenson kicked the PAT, and Hillsboro led 7-6 with 8:33 left in the first quarter.

Just before the second quarter, Haven once again beat Trojan pass coverage when Mark Carney caught an 11-yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats successfully completed the 2-point conversion attempt and regained the lead 14-7.

Haven then caught a break when Trojan receiver Braden Vogt fumbled the ball inside the Haven 5 yard line, spoiling what would have been a 67-yard touchdown catch and run thrown by quarterback Kaden Kleiner.

Unfazed, Hillsboro scored on its next possession on a 7-yard Kleiner connection to Carson Herbel, capping off an 8-play, 51-yard drive. Jorgenson added the extra point, making the score 14-14 with 6:23 left in the half.

On the ensuing Hillsboro kick off, a breakdown in lane discipline coupled with missed tackles allowed the Haven returner to scamper for an 80-yard touchdown return. Haven added a 2-point conversion and once again took the lead 22-14.

The Trojans started their next possession on their own 15 with about 6 minutes left in the half. Brooks Gardner went for a 53-yard run to the Haven 32. Kleiner scored four plays later on a 2-yard run. Kleiner connected again with Vogt for a successful 2-point conversion and the Trojans evened things up 22-22 with less than 5 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Trojans weren’t done. They forced a turnover on downs with 1:42 left at the Trojans 43 yard line. Kleiner completed a pass to Elliot Ollenburger to the Haven 40-yard line. Kleiner then hit Herbel for a 31-yard play down to the Wildcat 7-yard line. Herbel snatched the scoring pass for the go-ahead score. Jorgenson’s kick made it 29-22 heading into halftime.

Hillsboro head coach Devin Metzinger rolled the dice with an onside kick to open the second half. The gamble worked, catching Haven off guard as Gardner recovered Jorgenson’s kick at the Wildcat 31-yard line.

Hanschu ran the ball to the 5-yard line on the first play. Then Kleiner hit receiver Jacob Funk two plays later for a 6-yard touchdown. The Trojans led 36-22.

There was a break in the back-and-forth scoring after that, with both teams failing to mount a noteworthy drive the rest of the quarter.

At the 11:23 mark in the fourth quarter, Haven moved the ball to the Trojans 39-yard line. Haven then threw for a 39-yard touchdown and added a 2-point conversion, making the score 36-30.

On a following possession, the Hillsboro offense drove to the Wildcat 10-yard line with 1:06 to go. A 17-yard Jorgenson field goal attempt was blocked, leaving the ball on the Wildcat 20 yard line with 62 seconds left in the game.

The Trojan defense stiffened and eventually forced a Haven turnover on downs. Kleiner could then take a knee with his offense in the victory formation and ran out the clock.

The 2-4 Trojans look to build on their success as they face a 3-3 Hesston squad next Friday.

Last modified Oct. 13, 2016