In a game of strange plays, mental mistakes and costly penalties, it was Sedgwick?s multiple offensive weapons that ultimately ended the Hillsboro Trojans? season with a 41-20 loss at Sedgwick Tuesday in the first round of the state playoffs.
The game began oddly, with Hillsboro ending its first possession with a partially blocked punt. Sedgwick then fumbled away the football three plays later. Hillsboro punted again — this time from its own 5-yard line — only to have the Sedgwick return man muff the catch, enabling Evan Ollenburger to recover the football for the Trojans. But HHS had to punt it away again only four plays later.
After HHS forced a Sedgwick punt, the Trojans lost the football on a fumble that gave the Cardinals possession at the Trojan 34-yard line. Four plays later Sedgwick scored on a 17-yard pass from quarterback Trent Stucky to Elliott Money. Sedgwick missed the kick, but led 6-0 with 3:16 left in the opening period.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lucas Sinclair dove to cover a short pooch kick, only to take a hit as he touched the ball. The hard contact enabled the Cardinals to recover the loose ball at the Trojans 25, and caused Sinclair to be carted off the field by ambulance to a hospital for what was characterized by coaches as a precautionary exam.
But with the fumble recovery, Sedgwick botched its chance to cash in on its short field position by committing an unsportmanlike conduct penalty that set up a fourth-and-25 play at the 50-yard line.
Following a punt, Hillsboro started its next possession at its own 11, but Tyrell Thiessen rumbled off left tackle for 39 yards to the 50, and a personal-foul penalty added 15 more yards to give HHS a first down at the Cardinal 35. On the next play, Luke Moore connected with Shaq Thiessen for a scoring pass in the front of the end zone to tie the game at 6-6. Tyler Proffitt missed the extra point, keeping the game tied with 1:26 left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Sedgwick was flagged for offensive pass interference, pushing them back from the Trojan 38 to the Cardinal 46. But on second-and-25, Stucky connected with Josh Locke for a 54-yard scoring pass. A flag on the play raised hopes for a Cardinal penalty to negate the score, but the penalty was on Hillsboro. It was declined, putting Sedgwick up 12-6 with 7:53 left in the half.
A fake-kick run for two points by kicker Logan Thompson was disqualified by the officials because his holder had pitched him the ball with his knee on the ground — which is a downed ball, by high school rules.
The Trojans? next possession ended with a punt by Shaq Thiessen with the ball at the Hillsboro 5-yard line. But his kick was short and high in the face of a strong south wind, giving Sedgwick possession at the Trojan 22 — a 10-yard punt.
Four plays later, Sedgwick was in the end zone on a 5-yard run by Stucky, who then connected with Money over the middle for the two-point conversion and a 20-6 lead with 5:30 left in the half.
The score remained 20-6 at halftime, but not until the crowd witnessed a couple more penalties by Hillsboro, a fake-punt pass by Sedgwick that was broken up by Hillsboro?s Derek Kelsey, followed a couple of more penalties on Sedgwick.
The outcome of game turned in the third quarter when Sedgwick took the opening kickoff and drove 80 penalty-free yards in 13 plays, capped by a leaping catch of a Stucky pass by Levi Vogt in the end zone for the touchdown. Another missed kick kept the score at 26-6, but the Trojans? season was on the ropes.
Hillsboro?s next possession ended with an interception of a Moore pass by Levi Vogt, giving Sedgwick the ball at midfield. The Cardinals drove to the Trojan 5, but a couple of Cardinal penalties (one for another personal foul) and a sack of the quarterback by Brandon Rooker pushed the home team all the way back to its own 43-yard line for a second-and-57 play.
In a confusing turn of events, two passes later Moore appeared to kill the Sedgwick drive by intercepting Stucky. But the officials had thrown a flag in the Cardinal backfield and ruled that a Trojan lineman had committed a personal foul before the interception occurred, thus nullifying the change of possession and giving Sedgwick a first down at the Trojan 30-yard line.
A Stucky pass to Levi Vogt gave the Cardinals a first-and-goal at the Hillsboro 5-yard line, and then Stucky threw to Daniel Vogt for the score. A two-point pass from Stucky to Dalton Brandt gave Sedgwick a 34-6 lead with 1:58 left in the third quarter.
Sedgwick scored again with 9:05 left in the game on a five-yard pass from Stucky to Daniel Vogt, followed by the first successful extra-point kick of the night for a 41-6 edge.
Hillsboro countered with two late scores. The first came on a 19-yard quarterback keeper by Moore with 6:35 left to narrow the margin to 41-12 following an unsuccessful two-point pass.
Shaq Thiessen closed the scoring when he intercepted a pass by substitute quarterback Brylie Ware and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown with 4:00 to play. Moore ran in the 2-point conversion for the final 41-20 margin.
With the loss, Hillsboro?s season ends with a 5-5 mark while Sedgwick moves on with a 10-0 record.