Trojans beat Riley County in bi-district matchup

Hillsboro scored a pair of quick toucdowns in the first quarter, then hung on at the end to post an 18-6 win over Riley County in bi-district play, Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Riley County.

Battling near-freezing temperatures exacerbated by a brisk north wind, the Trojans got on the board on their second possession of the night, driving 44 yards in 10 plays. Kyle Jilka bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out for the touchdown. A high snap from center, plus cold hands, combined for an aborted extra-point kick by Caleb Marsh. But HHS led, 6-0, with 3:37 left in the quarter.

On the third play of Riley’s next possession, quarterback Zack Sullivan threw a backward pass that was off target. The loose ball, ruled a lateral, was picked up by Marsh and he returned it 20 yards for the Trojans’ second score. A 2-point conversion effort failed, but HHS had a 12-0 lead with 2:22 still left in the opening period.

Neither team scored for the next two quarters, though both teams had opportunities to.

In the third quarter, though, Riley picked up momentum when senior Ryan Klutz stepped in at quarterback and took on the embodiment of last year’s standout, Jordy Nelson. With Klutz running the ball himself on most plays, the Falcons moved up the field with relative ease. Only a fumble recovery by Kyle Jilka at the HHS 26 stopped one drive,

On their next possession, though, the Falcons marched 59 yards in nine plays with Dylan Sultzer scoring from a yard out on the first play of the fourth quarter. Matt Crubel’s kick for the extra point clanked off the right upright to keep the margin at 12-6.

Later in the quarter, the Trojans, hanging on to a precarious lead, pieced together a huge 51-yard drive that climaxed in a 16-yard scoring pass from Derek Hamm to Daniel Deckert with 3:35 left in the game. The 2-point try failed again, but Hillsboro fans could breathe easier — when their teeth weren’t chattering — with an 18-6 lead.

With the win, Hillsboro improves to 7-3 and will face No. 1 ranked Conway Springs in regional play at 2 p.m., Saturday at Reimer Field in Hillsboro.

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