ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro Trojan football team did what was expected of them against an undermanned Halstead team Friday night, rolling over the visiting Dragons 60-0 at Reimer Field.
Hillsboro took the opening kickoff and, with junior Dustin Jost getting his first start at quarterback, marched 69 yards down the field in seven plays. Tailback Alan Yoder ran the final 22 yards in two attempts to score the first touchdown with only 3:15 gone in the game.
James Bina’s extra-point kick made the score 7-0.
After Halstead went three-and-out on its first possession, Hillsboro scored again three plays later on a 57-yard scoring strike from Jost to Layne Frick. Bina missed the PAT this time and Hillsboro led 13-0 with 5:50 left in the quarter.
The Trojans’ lead grew to 20-0 early in the second quarter when Kris Jones ran inside and then broke to the outside for a 23-yard touchdown run. Bina added the PAT.
But Hillsboro wasn’t through. Senior tailback Ross Duerksen got into the scoring act this time with a 29-yard run with 8:43 left before halftime. Bina missed the PAT, keeping Hillsboro’s lead at 26-0.
The Trojans added one more touchdown before intermission when quarterback Ronn Coates culminated a six-play, 42-yard drive with a six-yard scoring pass to Adam Woods. Bina missed the PAT again, but Hillsboro possessed a commanding 32-0 lead with 4:06 left on the clock.
Not to be left out, the Trojan defense broke into the scoring column when Steven Chisholm and Danny Ratzlaff combined to drop Dragon quarterback Josh Mabry in the end zone for a 2-point safety.
After finishing the first half with a healthy dose of junior-varsity players, Trojan coach Dustin McEwen reinserted his starters long enough in the second half to score twice more.
The first touchdown came when Jost connected with Woods on a 23-yard scoring strike with 7:10 left in the third quarter to culminate a six-play, 66-yard drive. This time Carson Greenhaw missed the PAT, but Hillsboro led 40-0.
Jost took care of the second score himself less than three minutes later when he swept left end and ran the ball in from 81 yards out. Bina missed another PAT to keep the score at 46-0.
McEwen went back to his second and third string for the rest of the game, but even they were Dragon killers.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Peachey contributed two more Trojan scores in the fourth quarter. The first came on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 7:38 left to play. He scored again, this time from three yards out, with 2:34 left.
Bina missed another PAT on the first touchdown, but Chisholm ran for the 2-point conversion on the final one.
The Hillsboro defense had no trouble shutting down the visitors. Until they faced the third string late in the game, the Dragons managed only two first downs-both on Trojan penalties.
The Trojan offense, meanwhile, rolled up 507 yards total offense and never had to punt. Their only possession that didn’t end in a score was short-circuited by a lost fumble.
“I thought we did the things a team that has better athletes right now should do,” McEwen said afterward. “We didn’t get a lot of penalties, we came out and finished plays and ran plays hard. I was very proud of the way they executed plays. It’d be easy to take a play off here and there, but I thought we gave tremendous effort all the way through.
“The JV kids came in and did a nice job, too,” he added. “A lot of people did a lot of different things.”
Jost made his first start an impressive one, rolling up 124 rushing yards and adding 94 yards through the air.
McEwen said Jost’s mobility in the Trojans’ doubles-package offense gives him a slight advantage over Coates, who has been the starting quarterback the past two years.
“The doubles package is really something that makes more use of all the talent we’ve got on this team,” McEwen said.
“Coates is a very important part of this team, but it’s possible that we’re leaning a little more toward Jost. Right now in our doubles package, Dustin just gives a few more options.”
The Trojans schedule gets considerably tougher this Friday when they travel to Lindsborg to square off against Smoky Valley, a perennial contender in the Central Division. Game time is 7 p.m.