In a case of it?s better to be lucky than good, the Hillsboro High football team took advantage of a bad punt snap late in the game to snatch a 13-8 victory from the jaws of defeat Friday night (Oct. 2) at Sterling.
The Trojans seemed to be at the end of their rope against the 1-3 Black Bears when they failed to convert a fourth-and-seven at the Sterling 24 with 3:36 left in the game.
But the defense, which had struggled to consistently stop Sterling running attack through much of the night, forced a punt after three runs managed only seven yards. On fourth down, Sterling?s punter leaped to try and catch the high snap from center. The ball bounced loose, and although the punter recovered it, the Trojans found themselves with new life at the Black Bear 16 with 1:33 to play.
On the very next play, quarterback Jacob Fish lobbed a fade pass to the far side of the end zone and Ben Bebermeyer gathered it in for the score. Hillsboro?s try for two points failed, but the Trojan led 13-8 with 1:21 to play.
But the drama wasn?t over. Two pass-interference penalties on Hillsboro helped the Black Bears move, following the kickoff, from their own 41 down to the Trojan 20 with 29.7 seconds to play.
After one incompletion, Trojan defender Taylor Hagen deflected a pass downfield from Sterling quarterback Seth Humphreys. The ball bounced into the air and was gathered in by teammate Jacob Edwards for the interception.
Hillsboro then ran out the final 13 seconds for the victory.
The two teams were locked in a defensive battle through the first quarter of the game before Bebermeyer returned a Sterling punt about 70 yards for the first score of the game. Ethan Frantz?s kick made it 7-0 with 9:28 left in the first half.
After two more possession exchanges, Sterling drove from its own 33 to the Trojan 25-yard line on four running plays before Humphreys connected with Austin Maxwell for a touchdown pass with only 1:57 left in the half. Bryant Patterson followed with a successful 2-point conversion run to give Sterling an 8-7 lead that it defended until the late debacle.
With the win, Hillsboro improves to 4-1 for the year.