Better to be the one who pokes the sleeping bear and runs than the one who follows right behind when the bear is wide awake and angry.
Somewhere in that imagery is an analogy for the 41-0 pasting the Garden Plain Owls laid on Hillsboro Tuesday night during their bi-district game in Garden Plain. Upset losers to Halstead last Friday, the rejuvenated Owls came out ready to play on this night and put up all 41 of their points in the first half.
The Owls took the opening kickoff and were in the end zone eight plays and 70 yards later on a 6-yard pass from quarterback Nathan Becker to receiver Chris Kerschen with 9:42 left in the first quarter. Robert Weber?s kick made it 7-0.
The teams traded possessions until Garden Plain struck again when Cody Kohler intercepted a Luke Moore pass and returned it 30 yards to the Trojan 15. Three plays later running back Joey Capul took the pitch from Becker and ran in from seven yards out. Weber?s kick made it 14-0 with 5:30 left in the period.
Hillsboro?s already slim chance at a comeback took a significant blow when Chance Reece was blasted on a tackle that injured his shoulder. The senior was eventually taken to a hospital for treatment.
Even so, the Trojans hung in until the floodgates opened in the second period. Garden Plain started the first of four scoring drives of the period at the 11:09 mark its own 15. Runs of 49 and 35 yards fueled a four-play, 85-yard drive that ended when Reed Hartshorn crossed the goal line from three yards out. Weber?s kick made 21-0 with 9:48 left.
After Hillsboro went three and out, Garden Plain drove 69 yards in four plays, including a 30-yard pass to Chris Sponsel. The TD came on a 15-yard run by Capul with 7:26 on the clock. Weber missed the kick, making it 27-0.
After another Trojan three-and-out, Garden Plain drove 54 yards in eight plays with Capul scoring again, this time from only two yards away. Becker ran in the 2-point attempt for a 35-0 lead at the 2:39 mark.
After Hillsboro turned the ball over on downs in six plays at its 46-yard line with 31.6 seconds left in the half, the Owls went for the jugular. Becker?s first pass fell incomplete, but then he connected with Sponsel for 41 yards. After another incompletion, he lobbed a screen pass to Capul, who covered the final 13 yards to the end zone. This time, Weber totally muffed the extra-point kick and the score stood at 41-0 with only 6.6 seconds left in the half.
The two teams played a full second half with no running clock. But the Owls pulled its starters sometime in the third quarter and the two teams battled to a standoff the rest of the way.
Hillsboro missed two opportunities to score in the fourth quarter — once when Moore fumbled into the end zone as he was about to score on a keeper from six yards out; the Owls recovered the ball for a touchback.
The second time was when Caleb Hilliard?s apparent 35-yard touchdown run was nullified on a holding penalty. Hillsboro got another chance at it, but Hilliard was stopped five yards short of the end zone with 15 seconds left after a fourth-and-goal run from the 7.
With the loss, Hillsboro ends the 2010 season with a 5-5 record. Garden Plain (8-2) will travel to undefeated Conway Springs on Saturday.