Trojans fall short in bid to upset Hesston

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Hillsboro threw a homecoming scare at the undefeated Hesston Swathers Friday night, but the home team escaped with a 16-14 win when the Trojans missed a 33-yard field goal attempt with 2:23 left in the game.

?I?m very proud of my team tonight,? coach Max Heinrichs said. ?They played hard. Really, when you get down to it on paper, we beat them. We just made some mistakes.?

Hillsboro struck first when quarterback Luke Moore broke through the middle of the Hesston defense for a 32-yard scoring run with 6:04 left in the opening quarter. Ben Gardener nailed the extra-point kick for a 7-0 lead.

But Hesston responded immediately with a 70-yard, 11-play drive that ended with a 5-yard scoring run by Lucas Petrocci with 1:32 left in the quarter. Eyan Roth?s PAT made it 7-7.

The Trojans? spirit was tested when Ben Bebermeyer fumbled the football on his return of the ensuing kick off and Hesston recovered at the Hillsboro 19.

The Swathers cashed in the turnover on the very next play when Trevor Pauls hit Roth with a 19-yard touchdown pass. Roth?s kick put Hesston ahead 14-7 with 1:27 left in the quarter.

Hillsboro tied the game before halftime when Moore broke another run for a touchdown, this one from 25 yards out. Gardner was gold on the kick to pull Hillsboro even with 2:29 to go.

The outcome of the game turned when Moore was tackled in the Trojan end zone after he dropped back to pass from the Hillsboro 5-yard line on third-and-13. Matt Weaver made the hit for Hesston with 4:40 left in the third period.

Hesston appeared to put the game away midway through the fourth quarter when Pauls hit Adam Ferguson in the end zone with an apparent 12-yard scoring pass. But a Swather holding penalty nullified the score and Hillsboro took over on downs two plays later at the Trojan 3-yard line with 4:57 to go.

Then, on Hillsboro?s first play from scrimmage, Moore hit Caleb Hilliard with what turned out to be a 75-yard pass play along the Hesston sideline, giving the Trojans the ball at the Swather 22.

Three plays later, Hillsboro was on the Swather 8-yard line. But on third-and-goal, Moore was sacked for an 8-yard loss at the 16. Gardner then kicked for the lead, but the ball veered just outside the upright.

Hillsboro did stop Hesston defensively on the next possession, getting the ball back at the Hesston 42-yard line with 33.2 seconds to play.

A pass to Gardner gained seven yards. But when the Trojans couldn?t connect on a couple of deep throws to Bebermeyer along the Hesston sideline, the Swathers took possession with 10.2 seconds left.

With several break-through runs, Moore led the Trojans in rushing with 51 yards on 15 total attempts. The Trojans managed only 71 yards as team.

?If you didn?t know us from the past, we made our quarterback an eligible runner,? Heinrichs said. ?That changes a lot of things in how people have to play us. It also took the blitz off us.?

The junior quarterback also threw for a career-high 193 yards on 13-for-24 passing. Hesston finished with 306 total yards, with 191 coming on the ground.

The loss drops Hillsboro to 1-3 for the year while Hesston improves to 4-0.

Coming?The Trojans will make the long trip to Kingman this Friday for their first encounter with the Eagles (1-3, 1-3 CKL). Game time is 7 p.m.

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