Big plays key Trojan victory over Warriors

Two big plays in the second quarter catapulted the Hillsboro Trojans to a 32-0 win over their intra-county rivals Marion Warriors, 32-0, Friday at Reimer Field.

The win boosted Hillsboro’s record to 8-0 and, more importantly, put the Trojans at 2-0 in district play and in position for a showdown with Hesston for the district title Thursday night in Hesston.

The loss dropped Marion to 5-3 and 0-2 and assured them that their Thursday night game with Herington (2-6, 0-2) will be their season finale.

The final margin was a comfortable one for the Trojans, but the two teams battled to a standoff through the first quarter.

Marion got the first break of the game when a pass by Trojan quarterback Dustin Jost was tipped at the line of scrimmage and then picked off by the Warrior’s Jarvis Whiteman.

With the ball at midfield, Warrior quarterback Jared Smith ran through the left side of the Trojan defense for 19 yards and a first down at the Hillsboro 29-yard line. But two plays later, Whiteman fumbled the ball back to the Trojans with Layne Frick making the recovery on the Trojan 23-yard line.

Hillsboro then drove the ball all the way to the Warrior 21-yard line before running out of steam on three straight incomplete passes, the last two in the end zone.

Four plays and one first down later for Marion, Smith fumbled when he was hit on a quarterback keeper to the left side. Hillsboro’s Ronnie Davis recovered the ball to give the Trojans great field position on the Warrior 35 with 1:39 left in the opening quarter.

Six plays later, fullback Phillip Terrell burst up the middle for a five-yard touchdown run eight seconds into the second quarter. Kris Jones was stuffed on the 2-point conversion run to keep the lead at 6-0.

On their next possession, the Warriors put together an eight-play drive that ended when Hillsboro’s Andrew Hein sacked Smith for a two-yard loss on third and six. Tyler Smith’s punt gave the Trojans the ball on their own 19-yard line.

Then lightning struck.

On first down, Jost floated a pass down the right sideline. Frick, at 6-4, made a leaping catch over the head of Marion’s 5-8 cornerback, Robert Verbic, then sprinted down the sideline for an 81-yard score. After Jost was smothered on the 2-point try, Hillsboro led 12-0.

The two teams traded possessions twice-with the Warriors going three-and-out both times-before Smith punted out of his own end zone to give Hillsboro a first down at the Warrior 34-yard line with 2:49 left until intermission.

Then lightning stuck again.

On the first play from scrimmage, tight end Adam Woods took the handoff on a reverse and galloped untouched around left end for the score. James Bina kicked the extra point to give the Trojans a 19-0 lead-and a lot of momentum-as they headed into halftime.

“I’m not going to feel too badly about scoring the quick ones because that’s part of what we’ve got-the kind of speed and size that can make big plays,” said Hillsboro coach Dustin McEwen.

“They came out fired and ready to play,” McEwen said about the Warriors. “They came out with some stuff at the start to try and take away the run and trying to press some things. We gambled and threw a few passes that went big and had some play calls that took advantage of their hard pursuit.”

Any hope Marion fans had that Hillsboro might let down in the second half died in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Marion got the ball first, but once again went three-and-out. Then Hillsboro, from its own 32-yard line, launched a methodical 11-play scoring drive.

Kept alive by a spearing call against Marion after the Warriors had apparently forced Hillsboro into a fourth-down punting situation inside the Trojan 45-yard line, the drive ended minutes later when Alan Yoder, on fourth and one, slipped through the middle of the line for a nine-yard touchdown run.

The 2-point conversion attempt failed once more, but Hillsboro’s 25-0 lead all but shut the door on the Warriors.

After Marion went three-and-out once more on their ensuing possession, Hillsboro nailed that door shut when Terrell broke loose on a 55-yard counter play and ran the ball all the way to the one-yard line before he was chased down and tripped up by Jason Matz.

Matz’s heroics only delayed the inevitable, however, as Terrell, given the chance to complete his scoring run, crossed the goal line on the next play. Bina kicked his fifth straight extra point over two games to give Hillsboro its final margin, 32-0, with 1:47 left in the third quarter.

The game was hard-hitting all night, but the Trojan defense played a decisive role in the outcome. Not only did the Trojans keep the Warriors off the scoreboard, they allowed only 12 yards rushing and and 19 yards passing in the second half. The Warriors gained 101 yards total offense for the game.

“They’re a good football team,” said Marion coach Grant Thierolf. “They play awfully hard. They just had more weapons than we had tonight. They earned it and they took it to us tonight, but we’re going to get better.”

Whiteman, the Warriors’ leading rusher for the season, and Steven Boone each picked up 35 yards to lead the Warriors. Smith was 3-of-7 in the air for 29 yards and threw one interception.

Hillsboro’s offense, meanwhile, rolled up 450 yards total offense-301 yards on the ground and 148 more through the air. Terrell led the ground attack with 72 yards on nine carries, while Yoder picked up 61.

Jost ran for 55 yards on six carries, including a nifty 30-yard scramble in the first quarter. He also completed seven of 15 passes for 131 yards. Tyler Peachey added 18 yards on 2-of-2 passing. Frick caught four balls for 106 yards.

In contrast to their game against Herington the week before, the Trojans reduced their mental mistakes significantly, giving up the early interception but recovered their only fumble and were called for only one penalty. Marion was called for only one penalty, too.

“The refs were doing their job,” McEwen said. “I’m sure there were a few more things they could have called, but they let the football game be played-and I appreciated that.”

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