Hillsboro scores late for district win

Hurt by key mistakes and penalties, the Hillsboro Trojans almost let their district opener slip through their fingers Friday night at Reimer Field, before rallying in the fourth quarter for a 28-15 win over Herington.

Hillsboro (5-2) dominated the game statistically all night but struggled to get the ball in the end zone against the 1-6 Railers.

The Trojans scored first when Jeremy Loewen scored from two yards out with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. Sheldon Funk’s PAT attempt missed the mark, but HHS led 6-0.

Herington struck back after Curtis Floyd intercepted a Ronn Coates pass. Seven plays later, Nolan Haire found Curtis Hailey in the end zone from 10 yards out. Lee Minton ran in the 2-point conversion, and Herington led, 8-6.

HIllsboro took the second half kickoff and started a 13-play drive that ended when Adam Woods scored from 18 yards out on a pass from Coates. Layne Frick made a great catch on the 2-point conversion to give Hillsboro a 14-8 lead with 6:34 left in the third quarter.

Hillsboro missed a couple of opportunities to lengthen their led, thanks to inopportune penalties and then a Coates interception in the end zone, this time by Dan Essex. The Railers drove 80 yards, with Tyler Anderson scoring on a four-yard pass from Haire. The extra-point kick gave the Railers a 15-14 lead with 6:54 left in the game.

The Trojans struck back quickly on a 64-yard, four-play drive, including a 26-yard from Jeremy Loewen, then a 22-yard touchdown run by Ross Duerksen. The 2-point conversion run failed, but Hillsboro led 20-15 with 5:58 remaining.

After trading possessions, Scott Winter intercepted a Haire pass to give Hillsboro the ball on the Herington 34-yard line. Four plays later, Coates scored from one yard out with only 20 seconds remaining. Needing a 13-poiut spread to earn extra points under the state playoff system, the Trojans went for two points — and got them when Coates found Dan Funk in the end zone with a pass.

The Trojans ended up with 344 rushing yards for the night, including 192 by Loewen on 22 carries and 138 from Duerksen on 19 carries.

With the win, Hillsboro moves to 1-0 in district play. Next week they travel to Marion to take on their intra-county rivals.

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