It took the Hillsboro football team almost a full half to rediscover its moxie after back-to-back blowout losses to undefeated teams the past two weeks. But once they found it, the Trojans rolled to a 43-17 road win Friday over winless Remington to even their record at 3-3.
Remington got on the board first, as their effective ground attack led to an 18-yard touchdown run by Eli Igo with 3:43 left in the opening quarter.
Hillsboro?s Jakob Hanschu returned Remington?s short kickoff from the Trojan 35-yard line to the Bronco 10. A procedure penalty pushed the ball back to the 15. Brown then hit receiver David Dick on a pass play across the middle but the ball bounced into the air and was intercepted by Igo, ending the Trojan threat at the Bronco 4-yard line.
After a three and out, Hills?boro took possession at the Remington 37. Four plays later, Brown threw to Hanschu for a 5-yard score with 8.8 seconds left in the quarter. Leo Sontag?s kick missed the mark, but the score was tied at 6-6.
Hillsboro missed a couple of more opportunities to score in the second quarter. The first one came fairly early when the Trojans established a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line. But a string of penalties and negative plays left the Trojans facing a fourth-and-goal from the 26-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
The second opportunity came after a short Bronco possession, Brown connected with Preston Nelson with a 24-yard screen pass that gave the Trojans a first-and-10 at the Bronco 16 with about 3 minutes left in the half. Brown swept the left end on the next play, but fumbled away the football at the Bronco 2-yard line.
The turnover was bad news, but it led to the game-changing moment of the night two plays later. After a Remington incomplete pass, Hillsboro?s Jesse Meier tackled Bronco running back Todd Ensz in the end zone for a safety and an 8-6 Hillsboro lead with 2:36 left in the half.
The Broncos kicked off to the Trojans, who set up shop at their own 46. Five plays later, on a third-and-14, Brown hit Jordan Faul with a pass across the middle for a 24-yard gain to the Bronco 24-yard line. On the next play Brown found a wide-open Hanschu this time for the touchdown. Sontag?s kick was blocked, but Hillsboro led 14-6 with 41 seconds before halftime.
The two late scoring plays gave the Trojans renewed confidence in the second half, and they scored on their first four possessions. A 43-yard pass from Brown to Evan Ollenburger on the first possession led to a 12-yard scoring pass from Brown to Faul five plays later and a 21-6 Trojan lead at the 9:42 mark.
Then, Brown connected with Nelson from a yard out for score with 4:13 to go in the quarter for a 29-6 lead — after extra-point holder Ollenburger threw to Faul for the 2-point conversion.
After Remington scored in the final minute of the third quarter on a 34-yard run by Igo, Hillsboro covered Remington?s squib kick at the Trojan 41 and scored the next play on a 59-yard screen pass from Brown to Nelson.
Hillsboro?s final touchdown came on 33-yard punt return by Hanschu with 11:01 left in the game.
Remington added a 26-yard field goal with 4:25 left for the final 43-17 margin.
Brown finished the game with 374 yards and five touchdowns on 24-for-34 passing. Although he never made it into the end zone, Ollenburger led the Trojans with nine receptions for 157 yards.
Hillsboro will open district play next week when the host Moundridge for homecoming. The Wildcats were 2-3 coming into Friday, having defeated Remington 46-6 last week.