SES trips Hillsboro in district opener


Hillsboro tight end Andy Klassen gains yards after a catch against Southeast of Saline. Klassen enjoyed the most productive game of his career, catching five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Phyllis Richert photo

The Hillsboro Trojans ran into a Southeast of Saline Trojan team that was stronger, quicker and hungrier Friday night?and paid the price, a 32-13 defeat at SES in the district opener for both teams.

After the two teams traded brief possessions in the early going, a pair of Hillsboro turnovers fueled the home team to 14-0 lead.

After intercepting a Jacob Fish pass at midfield toward the end of the first quarter, SES scored in nine plays?including six runs by quarterback Bryant Beneke. But it was his 10-yard pass to Brant Weaver that put the first points on the board.

Beneke was stopped on a 2-point run to keep the lead at 6-0 with 0:27 left in the period.

On the first play of the second quarter, Hillsboro halfback Ishmael Morris fumbled and Braden Long recovered the ball for SES at the HHS 34-yard line.

This time it took only two plays for the purple-clad Trojans to score, as Beneke raced in from 28 yards out. His 2-point run made it 14-0 at the 11:03 mark.

A somewhat listless Hillsboro team got a much-needed shot in the arm later in the quarter when Matt Mortimer of SES fumbled an HHS punt and Daniel Jost recovered the ball for Hillsboro at the SES 36-yard line.

Three snaps after a hook-and-ladder play gained 27 yards for Hillsboro, Fish hit tight end Andy Klassen with a seven-yard scoring pass. Jacob Wiebe?s kick made it 14-7 with 3:12 left in the half.

Hillsboro dodged a bullet when Morris lost his second fumble of the night at the 50-yard line with 1:35 to go. HHS held SES for a four-and-out, and got the ball back at its own 27-yard line with 55 seconds left.

On the third play of the possession, Morris raced deep into SES territory on a draw play. A penalty brought the ball back to the SES 30. On the next play, Fish was intercepted by Beneke in the end zone with 5 seconds left and the score remained 14-7 at intermission.

In the second half, South?east?s line play simply wore Hillsboro down. The purple Trojans scored on a 29-yard run by Beneke on the opening possession of the half, then Beneke scored again on the next SES possession, this time from one yard out, with 4:24 left in the period. SES led 26-7 after Beneke ran in the 2-point conversion.

Jost momentarily resuscitated HHS once again, returning the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for for a touchdown. Wiebe missed the kick and the score stood at 26-13 with 4:02 left in the period.

SES added one more touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Beneke threw a four-yard pass to Weaver with 11:30 left in the game.

Hillsboro ended a final SES threat on its next possession when Ben Bebermeyer intercepted Beneke in the end zone.

Almost a one-man show on offense, Beneke carried the ball 43 times from his quarterback spot for 207 yards; his teammates accounted for three carries. The junior threw the ball 24 times, completing 11 for 78 yards.

Meanwhile, SES shut down Hillsboro?s two primary threats on offense, Morris and Jost.

Morris, who came into the game averaging 149 yards a game and 8.7 yards per carry, was held to 85 yards on 16 attempts. As a team, HHS had a net 63 yards on 20 carries.

Jost, who caught two passes for 21 yards, was averaging 87 reception yards per game. Fish and Ben Gottsch combined for 99 yards through the air on 9-for-24 passing, with Andy Klassen accounting for 56 yards on five receptions and Bebermeyer adding 21 yards on two catches.

?They just way outplayed us,? coach Len Coryea said of SES. ?We were tired and tight and just not ready to play. I thought we were ready with a blocking scheme and stuff, but they just manhandled us.?

Coryea said the commitment of the SES players to weight training in the off-season paid off for them on the field.

?I looked at the attendance on their weight-lifting charts?it?s almost solid black for the summer, for all of their sophomores, juniors and seniors,? he said. ?If we?re going to compete in high school football in the 2000s, we have to get stronger.?

Coming?The loss drops HHS to 4-3 overall and 0-1 in district play. SES improved to 4-3 and 1-0.

Next week Hillsboro will play Herington, who lost to Marion Friday night, 61-6, in district play. Game time at Reimer Field is 7 p.m.

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