Vikings spoil Trojans’ homecoming
Smoky Valley pulls away for 50-14 win
Four games into the season, Hillsboro football coach Devin Metzinger and his assistants have a big dilemma on their hands: Figuring out how to last a full 48 minutes against teams with a powerful ground attack.
Since dispatching Lyons in the abridged season opener, the Trojans have either played a solid 24 minutes, or have games spin too far out of control trying to slow down the run.
Friday night’s homecoming game against the pesky Smoky Valley was more of the same for the Trojans, who only trailed 12-7 at the break.
The second half was the story as the Vikings battered the Trojans defense with runs up the middle to outscore Hillsboro 38-7 in a 50-14 beatdown.
The setback drops Hillsboro to 1-3 on the year.
“This team’s learning to fight for 48 minutes and stick in there and deal with the physicality,” Metzinger said. “I felt tonight was a big step in that direction. I just told the guys you learn from this one and get ready for the next week.”
Opportunities have had a tendency of slipping through the Trojans’ hands, too, and after receiving the opening kick going into a gusty south wind, they got inside the Viking 20 before turning it over on downs.
In order to slow down the vaunted Viking ground attack, keeping Kyle Anderson in check is mandatory for more than one half.
The Trojans had no answer for that with Anderson breaking loose the second half, stinging them for 246 yards and two touchdowns—better than half the yardage coming after first contact.
Anderson got 56 of those on Smoky Valley’s opening drive, including a 26-yarder that set the Vikings up with a first-and-goal at the 5.
Nearly 6 minutes later, Cort Elliott capped the 11-play 81-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown with 2:35 left in the opening frame.
The lead would swell to 12-0 with 5:01 still left in the first half with the Vikings using nearly 7:00 before Elliott added his second touchdown with a 2-yard quarterback keeper.
Hillsboro was able to thwart the Vikings on both first half two-point conversion attempts, leaving it a 12-0 game.
The Trojans would’ve had their best starting spot of the night on the ensuing kickoff with Darian Ratzlaff returning it inside Smokey Valley’s 45.
But a block in the back call on the return forced a re-kick, which left Hillsboro pinned at its own 33 instead.
With the game on the verge of slipping away, Hillsboro got a huge lift with Lane Flaming recovering a Riley O’Dell fumble at the Viking 40.
Facing a second-and-2 at the 19, Kaden Kleiner hit Jacob Funk for the touchdown to pull to within 5 by halftime after Wes Shaw’s successful PAT.
The chances of Hillsboro staying close were swept downstream on the second half kickoff.
Despite the Vikings’ return being called back, a 66-yard run by Anderson opened the floodgates on Hillsboro and Smoky Valley was knocking on the door at the Trojan 12.
Three plays later, Anderson had the first touchdown, plunging in from the one and on the two-point conversion to open a 20-7 lead.
Anderson made it a 28-7 game after the Trojans came away empty handed on a 6-minute drive.
Caleb Potucek provided the biggest highlights for Hillsboro nearing the end of the third quarter.
Facing a third-and-long at their own 11, Kleiner went deep for Potucek for a 67-yard completion.
Potucek cut the Viking lead in half, 28-14, on the next play, scoring on a 22-yard touchdown with 11:22 left in the game.
That was the closest the Trojans would get as the Vikings reeled off 22 unanswered points, including an interception by Zion Thomas, which made for the 50-14 final and a running clock the waning 1:15.
Hillsboro faces another potent running game Friday against the visiting Halstead Dragons.
Last modified Sept. 28, 2017