Hillsboro’s magical season ends in Minneapolis

Hillsboro High School’s dream of a Class 3A football title ended abruptly in Minneapolis Tuesday night when the Trojans lost a fumble and a ball game in overtime, 26-20.

Moments after the Trojan “Black Shirts” put up a magnificent goal-line stand — keeping the Lions out of the end zone four times in the final seconds of the fourth quarter from inside the 1-yard line — Lions quarterback Ben Zuker scored from four yards out on their first possession in overtime to take a 26-20 lead. The PAT was blocked.

On Hillsboro’s first play from scrimmage on its possession, quarterback Dustin Jost pitched the ball to Ross Duerksen on the option sweep, but Duerksen couldn’t find the handle, fumbled the ball, and the Lions recovered it to end the game.

The game was a wild mix of big plays and big mistakes. Hillsboro took a wind-aided 14-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on its first two possessions. Phillip Terrell scored first on an 8-yard run up the middle and Jost passed to Steven Chisholm for the 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead with 7:38 on the clock. Jost and Woods connected less than four minutes later on a smooth 54-yd scoring pass. The 2-point conversion failed and HHS led, 14-0.

When the wind went to Minneapolis’s advantage in the second quarter, so did the game. The Lions scored three TDs, the last on a reverse half-back pass to Zuker with six seconds left in the half to take a 20-14 lead into the locker room.

Hillsboro tied the game in the third quarter on a 24-yard run by Duerksen, but Jost was stuffed on the 2-point conversion attempt to keep the score at 20-20.

Hillsboro’s stellar goal-line stand thwarted a 15-play Lion drive over the last six minutes of the final quarter. The Trojans barely avoided a safety when they ran one last play after stopping Minneapolis.

With the loss, Hillsboro ends its season with a 9-1 record. Minneapolis will go on to play Conway Springs on Saturday. The Cardinals defeated Collegiate 14-7 on Tuesday.

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