Hoisington prevails against Hillsboro, 53-28

The encouraging news is that Hillsboro played Hoisington pretty much even-steven in the second half—a slim 26-24 difference—in their game Friday on the Cardinals’ home field.

Unfortunately, the hometown Cardinals outscored the Trojans 37-6 in first half for a solid 53-28 victory.

After the Trojans punted at the end of a four-play opening possession, the Cardinals were on the scoreboard seven plays later when Rudy Gearhart ran in from 21 yards out. The extra point made it 7-0.

With the Trojans staring into a glowing setting sun on Hoisington’s east-west field, the Cardinals recovered a surprise pooch kick at the Hillsboro 40. Nine plays later the Cardinals were in the end zone again, this time on a 17-yard run by Jake Curtis with 3:48 left in the first quarter. The kick failed for a 13-0 lead.

After another four-and-out series, the Trojans surrendered the football on downs at their own 49 yard-line. Five plays later, Xavier Robinson scored from three yards out for a 20-0 lead three seconds into the second quarter.

Aided by a fumble recovery by Hillsboro lineman Colin Settle at the Hoising­ton 19-yard line, the Trojans made the scoreboard in four plays, capped by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Kaden Kleiner to Jacob Funk at the 8:54 mark. Wes Shaw’s kick narrowed the gap to 20-7.

But the Cardinals kept pressing, scoring twice more before halftime—first on 1-yard score capping a four-play, 50-yard drive at the 7:33 mark, then a nine-yard run by Curtis with 4:16 left in the first half for the 33-7 lead.

Hoisington started the second half with a five-play 66-yard drive capped by a 49-yard touchdown run Wyatt Pedigo 2:11 into the third quarter to inflate the lead to 39-7.

After Eric Barrett intercepted a Kleiner pass on Hillsboro’s first possession, the Cardinals scored again on a 21-yard run by Sean Urban with 7:33 left in the third quarter for a 46-7 lead.

Teetering on the edge of a running-clock finish, the Trojans fought back, marching 51 yards in nine plays with Kleiner scoring on a keeper with 1:43 left in the quarter.

Hoisington countered on its next possession when Urban capped a four-play, 31-yard drive with a 16-yard scoring run to push the Cardinal lead to 53-14.

Hillsboro struck back late—with Hoisington substituting freely—for two final touchdowns. The first was a 4-yard run by Kleiner with 5:57 left in the game, and the other a 40-yard deep-pass connection between Kleiner and Funk for a 40-yard score.

The loss dropped the Trojans to 1-2 for the season while the Cardinals improved to 2-1. Hillsboro will host Smoky Valley next Friday for homecoming.

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