Young Trojans drop football opener at Sterling, 46-23

Hillsboro?s young football team was baptized by fire into the world of varsity-level football Friday, dropping a 46-23 decision to a more seasoned Sterling squad in the season opener for both teams.

With no seniors on the roster, and with more than a few freshmen and sophomores stepping into starting roles on a junior-led team, the Trojans were worn down over time by Sterling?s line play.

Hillsboro trailed only 7-0 after one quarter, giving up its first score of the season after the Black Bears recovered a Trojan fumble at the Hillsboro 35. Ten plays later, Edward Weiner scored from four yards out.

Sterling added a second touchdown at the 9:04 mark of the second quarter after an eight-play drive. Ben Koop blocked the extra-point attempt, holding the margin to 13-0.

Offensively, the Trojans depended almost entirely on its short passing game, but ran out of downs on a fourth-down incompletion with 5:48 left in the half. Nine plays later, Wiener was in the zone again, this time from nine yards out. A successful PAT kick made it 20-0 with 2:33 left in the half.

Hillsboro then drove from its own 34-yard line to the Black Bear 16 before scoring their first points of the season on a 33-yard field goal by Jeff Jorgenson with 38.5 seconds left in the half.

The Trojans started the second half with an onside kick, but Sterling recovered the ball at its own 47-yard line. Six plays later Joel White ran through the middle of the Trojan defense for a 49-yard touchdown run. Koop blocked his second PAT kick to keep the lead at 26-3.

With the Black Bears controlling the line of scrimmage, Sterling ran the ball almost at will during a 52-yard drive that culminated in a 17-yard touchdown run by White with 1:09 left in the third period.

Now trailing 32-3, Jorgenson grabbed the Sterling kickoff on a dead run and scampered through a cluster of lumbering Black Bears for 78-yard touchdown. He missed the PAT kick for a 32-9 score.

Hillsboro tried another onside kick, but Sterling covered the football at the 50-yard line. The Black Bears scored five running plays later on a 15-yard scamper by Wiener with 11:10 left in the game. A successful kick gave Sterling a 39-9 lead.

The Trojans started the next possession at their 42-yard line, but six plays later sophomore quarterback Kaden Kleiner threw a lateral pass that bounced off the chest of Dusten Plenert. Wiener picked up the fumble and raced 40 yards for another score. A successful PAT kick gave the Black Bears a 46-9 lead with 9:21 to play — and kicked in the continuous clock rule.

Refusing to give up, the Trojans scored two touchdowns down the stretch — the first one on a 1-yard run by Brooks Gardner that was set up by a 24-yard pass play from Kleiner to Joe Knoll. Jorgenson?s kick made it 46-16 with 5:35 to play.

After Sterling?s subs went four-and-out following the kickoff, Tyson Reimer capped the scoring with a 46-yard touchdown run on a second-and-9 play. One more Jorgenson kick made the final score 46-23.

Hillsboro (0-1) will take on Haven next Friday for its home opener at Joel Wiens Stadium.

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