But not without some early drama. Hillsboro dodged a bullet on the opening kick when Ishmael Morris couldn’t find the handle on the elusive football. Sterling recovered it at the Trojan 21-yard line.
But Hillsboro’s improving defense limited the Black Bears to 9 yards on three runs and a pass, giving the ball back to the Trojans on downs at the 12.
Four plays later Brown was in the end zone at the end of a 69-yard scamper. His kick made it 7-0 with 8:45 left in the quarter.
After the two teams traded possessions, Sterling’s Kholby Munoz kicked a 27-yard field goal early in the second quarter to narrow the margin to 7-3.
The Trojans’ next drive stalled at the Sterling 44, but Jacob Yoder’s punt stuck the Black Bears on their own 6-yard line. Three plays later, Andy Klassen recovered a Black Bear fumble at the 5. Following a face-mask call against the Trojans, Brown threw to Daniel Jost for 10 yards and Yoder found the end zone from the 3.
Brown’s kick made it 14-3 with 4:45 left in the half.
HHS got a huge momentum boost when it scored again right before halftime. After the defense stopped a Sterling drive on downs at the Trojan 42-yard line, the offense drove 58 yards in 10 plays with Brown hitting Jost in the front corner of the end zone from 7 yards out with 9.1 seconds left in the half.
Brown’s kick was blocked, but HHS led 20-3 at intermission.
“I think that last score before half hurt them,” Coryea said of the Black Bears. “It was a great drive by us.”
After forcing Sterling into a three-and-out to begin the second half, Hillsboro started its next possession at the Black Bear 47-yard line. Fueled by runs of 13 and 15 yards by Brown and 19 by Yoder, the Trojans scored in nine plays on Yoder’s 1-yard run with 5:53 left in the quarter.
Brown missed the kick, but Hillsboro led 26-3.
The Trojans’ final touchdown came after Jost intercepted a Cody Riggs pass to give HHS the ball at its own 30-yard line with 3:37 left in the third quarter.
The Trojans traversed the 70 yards in only seven plays, including an 18-yard run by Yoder and a 27-yard pass from Brown to Jost.
Brown jitterbugged the final 7 yards for the score with 9.9 seconds left in the third quarter. His kick added the Trojans’ 33rd and final point.
Hillsboro’s high-powered two-stroke engine of Brown and Yoder powered the Trojans’ ground attack with 127 and 115 yards on 10 and 20 carries, respectively. Brown added 73 yards through the air on 7-for-12 passing with Jost hauling in five throws for 65 yards.
The Trojan defense turned in a strong performance against a team with multiple weapons. On this night, Joey Stromberg was the most effective one, picking up 155 yards on 25 carries. The rest of the team was limited to 30 yards total offense.
“They’re starting to catch on,” Coryea said of his young defense. “They’re starting to read out there. Dennis (Boldt, defensive coordinator) will call something, and now they’re checking it off and going to their alternative stuff.”
The win improves Hillsboro’s record to 3-2 for the season while Sterling drops to 1-4.
“We may have to face these guys again in the playoffs, if we make it,” Coryea said. “That’s our goal, to get into the playoffs, and these guys have a good chance to come in on their side of the bracket.”
Coming—Hillsboro, 1-2 in the MCAA Central Division, faces a key game Friday when divisional foe Smoky Valley (4-1, 3-1) comes to Reimer Field.
Coryea said his team can win if it plays a complete game on both sides of the ball.
“I thought we played real well tonight,” he said. “But I don’t know what team shows up every week. These kids don’t realize yet how good they could be.”
Game time is 7 p.m.