Not a bad way for a team and a new coach to open a football season.
Hillsboro scored on three of its first four plays from scrimmage Friday on the way to a crazy 48-14 win over Lyons. The Trojans led 48-0 at halftime.
“As a whole I thought our team played pretty well,” said coach Lance Sawyer, making his debut at the Trojan helm. “But I never thought we’d come out like that.”
A false-start penalty before the snap put Hillsboro at its 31-yard line for the first official play of the new season. Quarterback Tyler Proffitt made it a big one: a 69-yard bomb down the sideline to Shaq Thiessen for a touchdown. The extra point made it 7-0 with only 15 seconds off the game clock.
When Lyons was forced to punt after three plays, Shaq Thiessen returned the punt to the Lions’ 13-yard line. Proffitt then got the ball to Tyrell Thiessen of the left side of the line to give Hillsboro its second score in two plays with 9:54 left in the quarter. Jesse Brown kicked the extra point and the lead was 14-0.
After another Lyons three-and-out, Hillsboro took over on its own 23-yard line. Proffitt swept the right side on a keeper for 17 yards, then hit Josh Wiebe with a strike down the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown pass and a 21-0 lead after Brown nailed his third PAT kick.
Lyons managed a first down on its next series, but Shaq Thiessen ended that drive quickly with an interception that gave Hillsboro the ball at its 37-yard line with 5:44 left in the quarter. Three plays later, Proffitt lobbed a pass downfield that Wiebe grabbed and ran in for a 20-yard score. Proffitt’s PAT kick was off target, but Hillsboro led 27-0 with 4:43 still to play in the first period.
After one more three-and-out by Lyons, Hillsboro put together its fifth scoring drive of the first period, this one covering 67 yards in five plays capped by a 64-yard scoring connection between Proffitt and Shaq Thiessen. Brown’s kick made it 34-0 with 1:24 left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Lyons picked up its second first down, but had to punt the ball away four plays later. Hillsboro took over at its 32-yard line.
On third-and-6 at the 26, Proffitt connected with Tyrell Thiessen first for a 48-yard pass, then for an 11-yard pass that put the Trojans at the Lyons 15. On the next play, Tyrell Thiessen rumbled off left tackle and scored Hillsboro’s sixth TD of the half. Brown’s kick made it 41-0 with 8:42 left in the second quarter.
If that wasn’t enough, Lyons then fumbled the football on third-and-3 and Justus Hilliard recovered it for Hillsboro at the Trojan 43. After three plays, the Trojans actually had to punt for the first time—but Lyons was called for roughing the punter, giving HHS a first down at the Lyons 42.
Two plays later Grady Kirkhart intercepted a Proffitt pass, but the Lyons were called for a roughing-the-passer penalty and the Trojans retained possession at the Lyons 17.
On the next play, Proffitt ran off tackle for Hillsboro’s seventh touchdown of the half with 4:38 left. Hillsboro led 48-0 after Brown’s kick.
But after a crazy-good first half, Hillsboro’s fortunes went crazy-bad—even with a running clock the entire second half.
Lyons took the opening kickoff and scored eight plays later on a pass from quarterback Matthew Vincent to Kirkhart from 11 yards out. The kick made it 48-7 with about 6:30 to go.
On Hillsboro’s next possession, the Trojans endured a penalty, a dropped pass and a 12-yard loss after a bad center snap before Lukas Padilla intercepted a Proffitt pass.
After Lyons was forced to punt, Hillsboro fumbled away the football on a reverse play with about 6:20 to play. But Brown got the ball right back for HHS when he intercepted a tipped pass with about 5:30 left.
Two incomplete passes later, Proffitt threw the football right into the hands of Lyons’ Daniel Kline, who returned the ball to the Trojan 1-yard line. Vincent scored on the next play for the final 48-14 margin with about three minute to go.
But it wasn’t over. After Proffitt connected with Shaq Thiessen for a 39-yard pass, his next throw was tipped and then picked off by Lyons’ Angel Holquin with about 1:00 to go. Time graciously ran out two plays later.
Proffitt finished with 343 yards on 11-for-22 passing, but had three interceptions to go with his four scoring passes.
Shaq Thiessen pulled in three passes for 167 yards and two scores. Wiebe added 80 yards and two scores on three receptions.
“Shaq played extremely well, and Tyler Proffitt threw the ball extremely well,” Sawyer said, adding that Proffitt’s performance in practice lately earned him the starting nod.
“Proffitt’s just been impressive. Every drill we do, he’s first. He’s first on the field, he’s first to finish a sprint. I mean, he’s just a competitor. It’s good to have that at quarterback.”
Hillsboro finished with 110 rushing yards for 453 yards of total offense compared to 65 total yards for Lyons.
“I was pleased with how our defense came out,” Sawyer said. “I thought Nathan Unruh and Dylan Jirak did an extremely good job. They’re two big, strong kids and they plugged that middle to start the game. And I was impressed with the way Josh Davidson moved.”
Sawyer was happy with the big win, but saw plenty of opportunity for improvement.
“It feels good to get that first on off my chest,” he said. “I wish we would have played a little better in the second half.
“I think we can play better than we did in the first half,” he added. “We can shore some things up. The kids came out and played hard. They were focused, they were ready to play. It was good to see.
“We’ve just got to learn to finish a game. Against Sterling, if we play a second half like that we’re not walking off the field winners.”
The Black Bears will come to Joel H. Wiens Stadium Friday coming off an overtime loss to Smoky Valley.
Game time is 7 p.m.