Trojans fall to Hesston in districts

Hesston didn’t have the superior record it has enjoyed in recent years, but the Swathers proved they are the team to beat in Class 3A District 12 with a 49-20 win over Hillsboro Friday on the Swathers’ home field.

Few Trojans fans expected their team to prevail, but given Hesston’s 3-3 record coming into the first round of district play, a competitive game was at least a possibility.

But the Swathers chewed through the Trojan defense on each of their first six possessions to take a 40-7 lead into halftime.

The Swathers took the opening kickoff and scored in six plays on an eight-yard run by quarterback Zach Esau less then 2 minutes into the contest.

The Trojans’ finest hour—actually their finest 3:11—occurred during their first possession, when they marched 75 yards in seven plays, climaxing with a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kaden Kleiner to wide receiver Carson Herbel at the 6:55 mark.

Jeffrey Jorgenson’s kick tied the game at 7-7.

While Hesston continued to score on consecutive possessions, the Trojans simply could not. By the end of the opening quarter, Hesston was in control with a 27-7 lead. Two more scores in the second quarter bumped the lead to 40-7 by intermission.

After a three-and-out by Hillsboro to start the third quarter, Hesston kicked the game into continuous-clock territory when Tanner Bachman scored on a 41-yard pass from Esau when Hills­boro’s defender lost his footing.

Having exceeded the mandatory 35-point spread with a 46-7 score, the rest of third quarter slipped past quickly. Hillsboro went three-and-out once more, then Hesston countered with a 10-play, 52-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard field goal to bump the lead to 49-7 as the quarter ended.

Hillsboro made the final margin more respectable with two late scores. The first one came on a 55-yard pass from Kleiner to Jacob Funk at about the 4:32 mark.

Hillsboro regained possession when a bad snap by Hesston resulted in a fumble recovery by Brooks Gardner at the Swather 8-yard line with about 2:48 to play. Three plays later, Kleiner swept the right side for a 4-yard score with 1:06 remaining.

“I thought we matched-up better than the score would indicate, but going in I thought it would be a lot different than that,” coach Devin Metzinger said.

“I was a disappointed in the way the outcome came to be,” he added. “The last half of the first quarter and the second quarter—that’s what’s killed us really all of our losses. We’ve got to get to the point where we’re able to fight through it and not have to play from behind so much.”

Coming—Hillsboro, now 2-5 for the season, will travel to Marion Friday for Round 2 of district play. The War­riors lost their first game of the season Friday, 48-6, to undefeated Southeast of Saline.

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