Hillsboro loses OT heartbreaker

Hillsboro wide receiver Carson Herbel is forced out of bounds after a reception early in the fourth quarter, but not before the senior picked up a first down for his team. Nine plays later, Herbel caught a 23-yard scoring pass, followed by a 2-point conversion pass, from Kaden Kleiner to pull Hillsboro into a 17-17 tie. <p>Elation turned to crushing disappointment in mere moments as Hills­­boro’s maturing football team lost a 31-30 overtime decision at Kingman in a game Satur­day afternoon that had been suspended some 18 hours earlier because of lightning.

The feisty Trojans rallied from a 17-9 deficit early in a wild fourth quarter to build a 24-17 lead with 5:25 left to play.

The rally began when Trojan quarterback Kaden Kleiner connected with senior wide receiver Carson Herbel for a 23-yard scoring pass, and a 2-point conversion pass, to tie the game at 17 at the 7:58 mark.

After a four-and-out by Kingman, Kleiner connected with Herbel again on Hills­boro’s first play from scrimmage for a 57-yard score. Jeffrey Jorgenson’s kick made it 24-17 with 5:26 to go.

But Kingman sent the game into overtime by piecing together its most successful drive of the night. The Eagles started from their own 40-yard line and scored 10 plays later on a 3-yard run with 58 seconds left in regulation. Kicker Luis Franco tied the game with the extra point.

The Trojans took the ensuing kickoff and launched a last-second drive from their own 34 to the Kingman 28 with 2 seconds to play. Jorgenson’s 45-yard field goal attempt with a light breeze at his back came up short.

But the senior kicker got a second chance when officials called roughing-the-kicker on the play. On the re-kick, Jorgenson split the uprights, setting up Hills­boro for a win. But the officials waved off the play, saying King­man had called a timeout just before the ball was snapped.

On Jorgenson’s third attempt, a difficult snap resulted in a muffled kick that was short and off target, sending the game into overtime.

The Trojans took the first possession on the 10-yard line with four downs to score. On fourth down, a 2-yard pass from Kleiner to Braden Vogt put Hillsboro in front, 30-24. In what proved to be a pivotal play, the Eagles blocked Hills­boro’s extra-point kick, giving the home team an opportunity to steal a win with a touchdown and successful extra point on its possession.

Hillsboro’s fired-up defense limited the Eagles to six yards on Kingman’s first three plays. On fourth down, the Eagles’ running play from the 4-yard line appeared to be stopped short of the goal line, and Trojan players began celebrating a victory.

But moments later, as the pile of players dispersed, officials ruled the Kingman runner had indeed crossed the goal line. When Franco kicked the extra point, it was the Eagles who celebrated the victory.

“I’m so extremely proud of them,” coach Devin Metzinger said of his team. “I can’t even put into words how proud I am for fighting through the whole game.

“The ball bounced right for them it seemed like all night,” he said about King­man. “They had multiple fumbles and we didn’t get a hold of any of them.

“We had a couple of penalties at some bad times, they got a score and the lead and we were facing a lot of adversity, but these kids today fought all the way through it.”

Kingman took a 3-0 lead at the 2:53 mark of the first quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Jan-Ole Wichman.

That score endured into the third quarter, when Hillsboro’s Jorge Hanschu scored on a 11-yard run up the middle at the 11:14 mark of the third quarter. The extra-point attempt failed.

The Trojans extended their lead to 9-3 when Jor­genson nailed a 31-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the third quarter.

That set up the wild fourth quarter with King­man scoring on a 1-yard run, plus Franco’s extra point kick, for a 10-9 lead. Then, on Hillsboro’s very next play, Christopher Ontiveros intercepted a Kleiner pass that glanced off a Trojan receiver, and raced 27 yards for the pick six. Franco’s kick made it 17-9.

The loss drops Hillsboro’s record to 1-1 and raised Kingman’s to 1-1.

Coming—The Trojans’ next game will be at home Friday against state-ranked Hoisington, the team that delivered Kingman’s 44-6 season-opening loss.

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