The Vikings, who came in at 4-1 overall, took the opening kickoff and marched 72 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
That drive proved to be the rule rather than exception on this night. Smoky Valley combined its size advantage with a focused determination that the Trojans seemed to lack from the start.
Hillsboro actually got a break early in the second quarter when Viking quarterback Chase Dippel fumbled while running from six yards out for an apparent score. The Trojans’ Brandon Brown recovered the ball in the end zone and Hillsboro took possession on the 20.
But the Trojans proved to be just as generous. Two plays into their possession, running back Jacob Yoder fumbled, Smoky Valley recovered on the Trojan 19 and scored in three plays with Dippel surging into the end zone from a yard out. The kick made it 14-0 with 7:54 left in the half.
Trouble compounded itself. After Spencer Brown was intercepted on Hillsboro’s next possession, the Vikings drove 55 yards in eight plays with Eric Hawk scoring from 14 yards out. Dippel’s pass to Hawk made it 22-0 with 4:13 left in the half.
Desperately needing something good to happen to stem the Viking tide, the Trojans faked a punt on an apparent three-and-out possession, picked up the first down on a run by Brown, then scored on the next play when Brown caught Yoder in stride for a 61-yard touchdown pass. Brown’s kick made it 22-7 with 2:25 left in the half.
But fans who hoped the dramatic touchdown would ignite a sometimes listless Trojan squad were disappointed.
The Vikings picked up where they left off coming out of halftime, scoring on their first possession when Hawk rambled in from 29 yards out to cap a 73-yard drive.
Then, after a short Hillsboro punt gave the Vikings the ball at the Trojan 43, Smoky Valley struck again when Dipple threw to Ridge Jones for a 28-yard score.
Suddenly, the lead was 34-7 with 2:24 left in the third period.
Yoder scored on a couple of play-for-pride touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the final margin more respectable.
The late scores softened the reality of the Vikings’ domination. Led by a 246-yard performance by Hawk, who carried the ball 36 times, Smoky Valley rolled up 336 yards on 58 carries against the smaller Trojan front line. Dipple added 70 yards on 5-for-13 passing.
Hillsboro, meanwhile, ran 20 fewer plays, managing 162 rushing yards on 27 carries. Brown picked up 98 on 11 carries and added 87 yards through the air on 5-for-16 passing.
Coach Len Coryea was philosophic about his team’s performance.
“I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed we didn’t come out harder,” he said. “We didn’t block, we didn’t run, we didn’t pass well.
“When to goes bad, it all goes bad. At times we did a couple things fairly well. We just never put anything together.”
Coming—The loss drops Hillsboro to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the MCAA Central Division as it enters district competition this week at Marion. The Warriors are 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the Mid Division.
“What we’ve got to do now is regroup,” Coryea said. “It’s nice that we have to play a team that we have to focus on. If we can’t get fired up this week, we’ll be home early. We won’t win.”