HHS downs Ellinwood Eagles, 41-21

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Justin Wodke latches on to Ellinwood?s Glenn Whitaker in the backfield early in Hillsboro?s 41-21 win over the Eagles. Whitaker scored twice, but the Trojans, following a week of solid practice, took control early and never let Ellinwood out of their grasp. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press

The Trojans jumped on the home team early when Daniel Jost returned the Eagles? punt at the end of the opening possession for 58 yards and a score. Jake Wiebe kicked the extra point and the Trojans led 7-0 less than 2 minutes into the contest.

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Daniel Jost returns a punt during the second half of the game against Ellinwood. He returned a punt in the first half for a touchdown to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead. Phyllis Richert photo.

After another Eagle punt, Hillsboro drove 79 yards in 14 plays with Ishmael Morris scoring from two yards out with 0:45 left in the opening period. Wiebe?s kick made it 14-0.

After a strong tongue lashing by their coach at the quarter break, the Eagles, who came into the game undefeated, mounted a 70-yard scoring drive in 13 plays with Glenn Whitaker scoring from three yards out. Corey Detter kicked the extra point to bring the Eagles back to 14-7.

But the Trojans answered on their next possession, marching 67 yards in eight plays. The Trojans actually scored twice?first on a 36-yard pass from Jacob Fish to Jost, but it was called back on a blocking penalty. Three plays later, Morris scored anyway, running in from four yards out with 2:42 left in the half. Wiebe?s kick was blocked to put the lead at 20-7.

Three plays into the Eagles? next possession, Jost picked off a James Lyman pass and returned the ball about 35 yards to the Eagle 33. Jost scored the Trojans? fourth touchdown of the half on a pass from Fish on fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line. Jost also caught the 2-point conversion pass from Fish for a 28-7 bulge with 41 seconds to go before intermission.

Ben Gottsch then intercepted James on the Eagles? first play from scrimmage, giving HHS another crack from the Eagle 46-yard line. But the Trojans couldn?t convert before the half ran out.

Morris all but turned the lights out on the Eagles when he took a handoff from Fish on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and raced 67 yards up the middle for his second score. Wiebe?s kick made it 35-7 only 19 seconds into the half.

Hillsboro pushed the lead to 41-7 when Gottsch caught a pass from Fish from 23 yards out in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter. A bad snap foiled the extra-point kick by Wiebe.

The lead remained 41-7 until Ellinwood scored twice in the final 2:33. James burned the Trojan defense by throwing deep to a wide open Ethan Linden for a 55-yard score.

Then, when the Trojans failed to cover the ball on the ensuing kickoff, Ellinwood recovered it on the Trojan 24-yard line. Five plays later, James hit Ryan Ward with a one-yard scoring pass with 40 seconds left in the game.

?I thought we got a little bit lazy, complacent?you could see it,? Coryea said. ?That?s the trouble with young kids?you make a score on one play and you?ve got to make the transition right back to play defense. I don?t think mentally they do that.?

The Trojans outgained the Eagles in total yardage, 320 to 260. Morris led the rushing attack (29-148) with 105 yards on 12 carries while Ellinwood finished with 134 yards on 41 carries.

?I?m happy with the way we came back tonight after our performance last week,? Coryea said. ?We ran the ball well.?

Fish was back on target, too, completing 13 of 19 passes for 172 yards and no interceptions. Jost pulled down seven balls for 111 yards to lead the receiving corps. He also snagged two opposition passes on defense while Gottsch grabbed a third.

Coming?The win gave HHS a 2-1 record overall and a 1-0 start in league play. The Trojans will complete the final leg of a four-game road trip to start the season when they travel to Lyons on Friday for their second league matchup.

The Lions (1-2) defeated Haven this past week, 41-35.

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