A 13-yard Smoky Valley touchdown pass with 54 seconds left in the game derailed a win-worthy effort by Hillsboro, as the Trojans dropped a heart-breaking 26-21 decision to the Vikings Friday at Lindsborg. The loss dropped Hillsboro to 3-3 for the season while Smoky Valley improved to 3-3. With Hillsboro leading 21-20 and 9:00 left in the game, the Trojans ran 3:30 off the clock in an effort to keep Smoky?s offense off the field, but were forced to punt after six plays.
The Vikings took over at their own 20. During the ensuing drive, Smoky Valley twice converted fourth-down plays into first downs?including a fourth-and-10 at the Trojan 39.
Five plays after that one, it was third-and-goal for the Vikings at the Trojan 13. That?s when quarterback Nick Deter?ding, who had just been sacked for a five-yard loss by Tyrel Thiessen on the previous play, connected with Curtis Carlson coming across the middle for what turned out to be the winning score.
For an encore, Carlson ended Hillsboro?s hope for a miracle finish when he intercepted a Luke Moore pass with 36 seconds left on the clock.
The loss was a disappointing turnabout for an otherwise resilient effort by the Trojans.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Vikings struck first when Deter?ding swept the left end and scored from 15 yards out with 6:23 left in the half. The kick made it 7-0.
Undeterred, Hillsboro came right back, driving 68 yards in 10 plays with Moore running in from three yards out and 4:03 left in the half. Jesse Brown?s kick tied the game at 7.
The big play in the drive was a 37-yard pass from Moore to Aaron Klassen that gave HHS a first down at the Viking 13.
When Deterding?s quick kick deflected off his own player at the end of Smoky?s next possession, Hillsboro got the ball at its own 49 with 2:35 left in the half. This time, Moore found Tyrel Thiessen for a big pass play that advanced the Trojans 33 yards to the Viking 15.
After Moore spiked the football to stop the clock with 1:08 left, he threw into the end zone, where Shaq Thiessen made a leaping, one-handed grab for the score. Brown?s kick gave HHS a 14-7 lead going into halftime.
Smoky Valley started the second half with a haymaker to the chops when Taylor Base took the hand-off on the first play from scrimmage and raced 57 yards up the middle for a touchdown. The kick by Jarod DeMott tied the game at 14.
The early-season Trojans may have wilted at that point. But this time they responded with an 80-yard drive against a strong south wind that ate more than 6 minutes off the clock.
A 23-yard pass from Moore to Evan Ollen?burger on third-and-seven was a key play along the way, but Tyler Proffitt capped the drive with a 15-yard scoring run with 5:14 left in the third quarter. Brown converted the PAT for a 21-14 Hillsboro lead.
After the two teams traded possessions, Smoky Valley launched an 80-yard scoring drive, the last 55 yards of which were covered by Deterding?s pass to Greyson Pihl on a pass-and-run into the end zone.
The Trojans appeared to dodge a bullet, though, when Moore intercepted Deterding?s pass in the end zone to kill the Vikings? 2-point conversion attempt and keep the Trojans on top, 21-20, with 9:07 left to play.
?I tell you what, our kids played well,? coach Max Hein?richs said. ?My game plan probably wasn?t so good at the beginning.
?We thought we?d be able to spread them out in our spread look, but they really did a nice job of blitzing and that caused us some problems. So we had to go back to what we?ve been doing. We went under center, and some things started happening for us.?
The game was marred by several arguable calls by the officials, but Heinrichs refused to blame them for the loss.
?Those guys have a tough job, and I appreciate them,? he said. ?I told the kids we won this game, and I didn?t mean that the referees took it from us. We played hard, and we?ll be better next week because of what we did tonight.?
Coming?The Trojans begin district play Friday against Southeast of Saline (5-1), which lost its first game Friday to Beloit, 22-12. Kickoff at Joel H. Wiens Stadium is at 7 p.m.