Hillsboro succumbs to undefeated Halstead, 36-3

Trojan running back Jorge Hanschu finds himself surrounded by Halstead defen­ders during the Trojans’ first possession of the game. The play went for 16 yards, but for the game Hanschu finished with 61 yards on 16 carries. Halstead’s defense limited the Trojans to a total of 67 yards on the ground.Hillsboro drew first blood against undefeated Halstead, but the Dragons regrouped for a 36-3 homecoming victory Friday.

The Trojans returned the opening kickoff and marched downfield on the arm of quarterback Kaden Kleiner, who completed his first three pass attempts for 31 yards. Combined with a 16-yard run by Jorge Han­schu, the Trojans found themselves with a first down at the Halstead 11-yard line.

The drive stalled at that point, but Jeffrey Jorgenson kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead barely three minutes into the game.

If you poke a powerful Dragon, you’re likely to feel the fire. Halstead rallied for three scores in the span of just over six minutes to take a 22-3 lead with 2:47 left in the first quarter.

The first two touchdowns came on runs of six and 28 yards by quarterback Chase VanSteen­­burg. The third score came when VanSteen­burg connected with a wide-open Dalton Kraus for a 39-yard pass.

“We learned a hard lesson tonight as a team,” coach Devin Metzinger said. “When we don’t do our job, three quick touchdowns are going to happen. But if we play sight and sound, we can shut down good teams like this.”

Teetering on the edge of a blowout, the Trojans regrouped and kept the Dragons off the scoreboard for almost two full quarters—until VanSteen­burg scored again, this time from two yards out with 3:38 left in the third period for a 28-3 lead.

Halstead scored its final touchdown in the fourth quarter, when Layke Heimerman ran in from five yards out with 10:45 to play.

The Dragons got a boost defensively by corralling three interceptions and a fumble to defuse the Trojans’ momentum.

Despite the turnovers, the Trojans dominated the airways with Kleiner completing 18 of 39 attempts for 222 yards. Jacob Funk pulled in a team-high seven throws for 71 yards.

Halstead put the ball in air only six times, but the Dragons more than made up for it on the ground, rolling up 323 yards on 51 carries. Trojan runners managed just 67 yards on 31 carries.

“The turnovers killed us, but we’ve got to be able to run the ball,” Metzinger said. “We can’t hang it all on our passing game. We have to keep the pressure off our passing game by running the ball. It’s still first and foremost for us.”

With the win, Halstead improved to 5-0 for the season while the Trojans stand at 1-4.

Coming—Hillsboro will host Haven Friday for homecoming. The Wildcats (1-4), won their first game of the season last Friday against winless Lyons, 55-21. Game time is 7 p.m.

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