Hillsboro stops Marion, will move on as district runner-up (with photos)

For the first time in four years, the Hillsboro and Marion regular-season-finale football game did not end in overtime. The home-team Trojans asserted themselves on both sides of the football and nailed down a convincing 22-0 win at Joel H. Wiens Stadium on Thursday.

The victory sealed the district runner-up position for HHS and qualified the Trojans to move on to bi-district play next Tuesday against state power Garden Plain. Both teams had entered the game with 1-1 records in the district.

Defense ruled early in the contest. Hillsboro was the first team to threaten points when Ben Gardner lined up to attempt a 26-yard field goal with less then three minutes left in the opening quarter. But Marion?s Les Riggs led the penetration through the Trojan line to block the kick.

Hillsboro created a break early in the second quarter when defensive back Ben Bebermeyer picked off a Dillon Richmond pass to give the Trojans the football at their 40-yard line. Eight plays later, Chance Reece scampered into the end zone from nine yards out. Gardner?s extra-point kick was perfect and HHS led 7-0 with 6:57 left in the half.

Marion then mounted an 11-play drive that carried the Warriors all the way to a fourth-and-1 at the Trojan 10-yard line. But the Trojan defense stepped up, stopping Richmond for no gain on the keeper to take over on downs.

Hillsboro appeared to be content to run out the final 1:47 of the half. But after two conservative running plays gained 12 yards, Moore hooked up with Dylan Delk for a 23-yard pass to give the Trojans a first down at the Marion 44.

Feeling the door of opportunity opening, Moore then hooked up with Bebermeyer for a 39-yard strike to the Warrior 17-yard line with 31.3 seconds left. On the next play, Moore threw for Aaron Klassen near the Trojan sideline. The pass fell incomplete, but the Warriors were called for pass interference, giving HHS the ball at the 8. Gardner and the Trojans then lined up for a field goal with 12 seconds on the clock. The 25-yard kick was good for a 10-0 lead with 8 seconds left until halftime.

The Trojans pushed the Warriors to the brink by scoring on the first possession of the third quarter?after getting a couple of breaks.

Starting in good field position after Caleb Hilliard returned the kickoff to the Hillsboro 44-yard line, the Trojans appeared to be stopped cold in three plays. On fourth-and-10, Reece punted the ball deep into Marion territory, but the Trojans were flagged for an illegal formation.

Marion accepted the penalty, hoping for better field position on a re-kick. But on Reece?s next kick, the Warriors were called for roughing the kicker, giving the Trojans a first down at the Marion 45.

On the very next play, Reece sliced off left tackle on the counter play and outran the Marion defenders to the end zone. The score remained at 16-0 when Riggs blocked another Gardner kick.

On their next possession, the Warriors drove from their own 40 to the Trojan 12 after Rich?mond connected with Cole Lewman on a 39-yard pass play from the Warrior 49. After two running plays netted zero yards, two Richmond passes fell incomplete to end the threat as Hills?boro took over on downs.

The Trojans scored the final points of the night by capitalizing on two more Marion turnovers. First, Bebermeyer picked off a Richmond pass near the Warrior sideline to give HHS a first down at the Trojan 44-yard line. The possession was about to end without damage when Reece boomed a punt into the night sky. But the Warriors muffed the catch and Hilliard recovered the football for HHS at the Marion 15.

On the next play, Moore connected with Gardner for a touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone. Gardner missed the kick, giving Hillsboro the final 22-0 margin.

Both team finished the regular season with 5-4 records.

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