Hillsboro drops a 14-9 decision to Halstead in season opener (plus photos)

Hillsboro got the early jump, but it was a physical Halstead squad that eventually won the day in the Dragons? 14-9 victory over the Trojans in the season opener at Joel H. Wiens Stadium.

Hillsboro took the opening kickoff and moved from its own 43-yard line to the Halstead 18 before running out of downs. But a bad pitch out on Halstead?s first play resulted in a Hillsboro recovery when Devin Dick pounced on the football at the Halstead 18.

On the next play Trojan quarterback Luke Moore hit wide receiver Ben Bebermeyer on the goal with a pass for the first touchdown of the season. Ben Gardner missed the extra point, but the Trojans were ahead 6-0 with 7:47 left in the opening period.

The Trojans took advantage of a another fumble early in the second quarter with Dylan Delk falling on the loose football at the Dragon 29. Moore hit Bebermeyer for a 12-yard pass on the first play, three plays and a illegal motion penalty later, Gardner split the uprights for a 32-yard field goal for a 9-0 Hillsboro lead with 8:34 left in the half.

Once the Dragons held on to the football, they began to move it down t he field, primarily on the legs of 5-foot, 4-inch Rodney Strohl (27 carries, 169 yards). Halstead drove to the Hillsboro 20-yard line, where on fourth-and-4, they finally stopped Strohl on a 1-yard gain.

Taking over at the 19, Hillsboro put the ball in the air three straight plays. The first was caught by Delk for a 6-yard gain but the next missed the mark, forcing the Trojans to punt from deep in their own territory.

Halstead started its next drive at its own 43 and eight plays later, quarterback Simon McKee scored on a bootleg around the right end to put his team on the board with 12.9 seconds left in the half. The extra point made it 9-7 going into halftime.

The two teams exchanged possessions to open the second half before Halstead mounted what turned out to be the winning drive starting at its own 41-yard line. Six plays later carried the ball for the fourth time in the drive and scampered nearly untouched for 14 yards up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown. Ethan Rodenberg?s second extra point made it 14-9 Halstead.

The Trojans struggled to move the football the rest of the way as Halstead clamped down on the run and neutralized Hillsboro?s passing game. The Trojans blew a few opportunities for big plays on a couple of dropped or off-target throws.

The loss gives the Trojans an 0-1 record in the Central Kansas League North Division while Halstead begins 1-0.

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