Hillsboro’s football season ends with 16-7 loss at Hutch Trinity


Ishmael Morris (left) and Taylor Hagen close in on Hutch Trinity quarterback Derek Racette late in the game. The Celtics 16-7 victory eliminated the Trojans in the bi-district round of the state tournament.

A few mental lapses that turned into big plays for Hutch?inson Trinity proved to be the difference in the Celtics? 16-7 victory over Hills?boro in Tuesday?s bi-district playoff game.

Coach Len Coryea said the biggest factor in the outcome, though, was the physical aggressiveness of the Celtics, particularly on defense.

?They were just crushing us all over,? he said. ?They played hard; they beat us. I give them credit.?

At the same time, Coryea said the emotion invested by his team the previous two games, both victories, may have come with a price on Tuesday.

?We just didn?t emotionally get into this game,? Coryea said. ?We just didn?t get there. I was afraid of that.

?We didn?t want to lose, but we just didn?t get that emotional charge. It wasn?t there like it was in the last two games. You could see it in the locker room.

?It happens in high school football.?

Hillsboro actually took the early lead by cashing in a breakdown by the Celtics. Isaac Leihy partially blocked a Trinity punt, giving the Trojans the ball at the Celtic 21-yard line with 2:45 to go in the opening quarter.

Seven plays later, Ben Gottsch connected with Daniel Jost on a four-yard touchdown pass just inside the goal line near the Trojan sideline. Jacob Wiebe?s kick made it 7-0 with 21 seconds left in the quarter.

Trinity ran three plays to end the first quarter. Then, with the strong south wind at the Celtics? back, quarterback Derek Racette took advantage of a coverage breakdown by Hillsboro and connected with an extremely wide open Michael Mesh deep in Trojan territory for an easy 65-yard score.

When Andy Klassen got a hand on the extra-point kick attempt, Hillsboro still led, 7-6.

That score stood through halftime. But on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Celtic running back Tanner Engweiler slipped through the dozing Trojan defense for a 56-yard run.

Jost managed to run Engweiler down at the Trojan 15-yard line. Four plays later, Taylor Hagen blocked a field-goal attempt by Mesh, giving Hillsboro the ball at the Trojan 20.

But on Hillsboro?s first play from scrimmage, halfback Ishmael Morris coughed up the football and the Celtics recovered it at the Trojan 16. This time, Mesh made the field-goal attempt four plays later, giving the Celtics a 9-7 lead with 7:04 left in the third period.

After Hillsboro?s next possession stalled in seven plays and Klassen punted into the wind, Trinity moved the ball from its own 43 to the Trojan 22 in six plays. But defensive back Ben Bebermeyer ended that threat with an interception that gave Hillsboro the ball at its 19-yard line.

The Trojans began moving effectively against the wind largely on its ground attack. But lightning struck again early in the fourth quarter when the Trojans punted from midfield and Engweiler returned the kick 72 yards. Jacob Fish made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Trojan 23, and the Hillsboro defense dodged another bullet by forcing Trinity to turn the ball over on downs at the 1-yard line.

With its collective back against the wall, Hillsboro advanced the ball 23 yards with the help of a personal foul on Trinity. On third-and-one at the Celtic 24, the Trojans opted to pass for the first down?but Gottsch was dropped for a seven-yard loss by Chris Bird.

Facing fourth-and-eight with 4:37 to play, Gottsch attempted to pass again. This time he was pressured by Jason Webb, who got a hand on the throw and forced a change of possession.

Trinity took over at the Trojan 17-yard line and found the end zone five plays later on a one-yard sneak by quarterback Racette. The successful kick gave Hutch the final 16-7 margin.

Trinity held a 243-201 edge in total offense, picking up 138 yards on the ground and 105 through the air. The Trojans managed only 88 yards rushing and picked up 113 through the air on 11-for-24 throwing by Gottsch.

Morris finished an outstanding senior season with 76 yards on 21 carries for the game, giving him 1,368 yards for the season on 171 carries for an 8.0 average per tote.

Jost, with two catches for 47 yards, also capped a stellar season. The senior all-stater grabbed 45 passes for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The loss ended the Trojans? season with a 6-4 mark.

?It was a great year for us,? said Coryea, whose record as head coach through five seasons is 27-25.

?I?m real proud of the guys,? he added. ?They played way above expectations. If you had seen us the first week of practice, we were scared to death. I?m so proud of the way they played all year. I can?t be disappointed.?

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