ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Hillsboro showed little mercy against a Lyons team in disarray Friday night, taking care of business in a convincing 42-0 fashion in Lyons.
The Trojans, effective on both sides of the ball, rolled up nearly 450 yards in total offense-including 351 on the ground-while giving up a scant 86 yards total offense to the Lions.
Beyond the statistics, though, these were two teams heading in opposite directions. The state-ranked Trojans appeared a little flat in the early moments, but quickly found their stride coming off last week’s big win over Collegiate.
Lyons, meanwhile, having lost a couple of key players to injuries and a couple more to personal issues, played like a team imploding. The Lyons were whistled for four personal fouls-and could have been called for a couple more. One player was ejected.
“It wasn’t a matter of playing the ball game at all,” said Trojan coach Dustin McEwen. “You hate to see that. I know their coach is working hard to get those kind of things taken care of.
“I thought our guys did a great job of not getting into any of it with them and just playing above and beyond it,” he added.
Hillsboro scored on its second possession of the game when Ross Duerksen ran the ball in from 12 yards out. The six-play, 65-yard drive included a 20-yard run up the middle by fullback Phillip Terrell.
Duerksen ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The Trojans struck again in the second quarter when quarterback Dustin Jost, on an audible, connected with Adam Woods for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
“I didn’t have anything to do with that one,” McEwen joked afterward. “My play would have been OK, but his play went for a touchdown.”
Jost and Woods also connected for the 2-point conversion, giving Hillsboro a 16-0 lead with 9:19 left in the half.
Terrell boosted the margin to 22-0 with a three-yard touchdown run with 1:12 to play. Alan Yoder, sprung loose around left end on a crushing block by wide receiver Steven Chisholm, contributed a 29-yard run to the 90-yard, 10-play drive. The 2-point-conversion run failed.
The Trojans extinguished any faint homecoming hopes for a Lyons comeback with a quick touchdown to open the second half. The drive, which started at the Trojan 28, got a huge boost on a 45-yard run by Duerksen to the Lyons’ 14-yard line. Yoder carried the ball the rest of the way, scoring two plays later.
James Bina made a successful return as the extra-point kicker to give the Trojans a 29-0 advantage.
The Trojans topped the night with two bang-bang fourth-quarter touchdowns. The first one was set up by a Yoder interception that gave Hillsboro the ball at its own 48-yard line. Helped by a Lyons personal foul, the Trojans scored in five plays with Tyler Peachey running the ball in from five yards out.
Bina’s second extra-point kick upped the ante to 36-0.
When Lyons fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Ronn Coates recovered the football. Duerksen ran it in from 25 yards out on the Trojans’ first play from scrimmage to give Hillsboro its second touchdown in 17 seconds.
Bina was wide left on the PAT, but the Trojans had a comfortable 42-0 lead with 6:15 to go.
Even without the services of junior running back Kris Jones, who sat out this game with a shoulder injury, the Trojans ran almost at will. Duerksen finished with a career-high 166 rushing yards on only 14 carries. Yoder added 107 yards on 15 carries.
Jost was a bit off last week’s form, completing only four of 11 passes for 93 yards and giving up two first-half interceptions.
“They were doing some things in the secondary that were a little confusing,” McEwen said. He also said the field’s high crown was tough to adjust to.
“You can’t see your players,” McEwen said. “(Wide receiver Layne) Frick is 6-4 and he became 5-5 out there on the sideline. You just can’t see them (when you have to throw over the crown).”
The Trojans’ dominance on offense was matched by the play of the defense. Lyons managed only 34 yards on the ground in the second half and completed only one pass the entire game-for a loss of four yards.
On this night, Frick caught more passes on defense-three interceptions-than he did playing offense.
Coming-The Trojans’ 6-0 record and No. 3 ranking is reason for confidence, but it won’t mean a thing officially when they open district play Friday against Herington.
“We can’t take anybody for granted,” McEwen said. “Everybody is 0-0. You have to come in and prove yourself.
“Herington’s always played us tough,” he added. “We haven’t beaten them by a whole bunch, ever.”