Trojans fall to Smoky Valley, 36-16

Hillsboro extra-point holder Elliot Ollenburger dives for the corner of the end zone after a high snap from center forced him to run for a 2-point conversion. Ollen­burger was successful, cutting Smoky Valley’s lead to 21-8 late in the second quarter. The Vikings went on to post a 36-16 victory Friday in Lindsborg.Dominant line play by Smoky Valley during the first half put Hillsboro in a deficit the Trojans couldn’t overcome. The Vikings prevailed, 36-16, in their homecoming matchup Friday in Lindsborg.

Smoky Valley set the tone early, shutting down Hills­boro’s opening possession in four plays, then marching 62 yards in 11 plays, climaxed by a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brett Heit­schmidt at the 5:14 mark for a 7-0 lead.

That scenario continued with the Vikings scoring two more grind-it-out touchdowns—the first on a 22-yard run by Kyle Anderson at the 9:03 mark of the second quarter, and the second on a fourth-and-two dive off right tackle by Kaj Sjorgen with 3:50 left in the half.

Down 21-0, the Trojans finally caught a break. After their third three-and-out possession of the half, Carson Herbel launched a deep punt toward the Viking end zone. The punt receiver muffed the catch, and Herbel recovered the football at the Smoky 12-yard line with 2:00 left in the half.

One the very next play, Trojan quarterback Kaden Kleiner connected with wide receiver Jacob Funk for a touchdown. Extra-point holder Elliot Ollenburger then snagged a high snap from center, swept the right side and dove into the end zone for a 2-point conversion that cut the lead to 21-8.

Hillsboro’s momentum didn’t last long, though. On Smoky’s first play from scrimmage, Heit­schmidt broke off left tackle and ran from his own 20-yard line to the Trojan 27—a 53 yard scamper—before he was tackled.

Four plays later, Ander­son was in the end zone on a 2-yard run with 9.2 seconds left in the half. After a penalty on Hillsboro during the extra-point kick, Smoky cashed in a 2-point conversion run for a 29-8 lead at intermission.

The Vikings began the third quarter in a familiar mode, driving from their own 14 to the Trojan 17 in 16 plays. But Hillsboro stopped the home team on fourth down to take possession.

The Trojans then went to the passing game, with Kleiner completing six consecutive attempts to the move ball all the way to the Viking 15-yard line. But Kleiner fumbled the football when he was hit by the Viking line, and Smoky’s Blake Heble recovered the football at the Viking 15.

Smoky then launched another long possession, moving 85 yards in 14 plays with running back Riley Odell crossing the goal line from three yards out with 6:58 left in the game. The extra point made it 36-8, home team.

Hillsboro finished the scoring quickly thereafter. Starting at their own 33-yard line after the kickoff return by Braden Vogt, the Trojans covered the remaining 67 yards in three plays: a three-yard run by Kleiner, a 27-yard pass to Herbel and a 37-yard scoring pass to Jacob Funk with 6:13 to play. Funk caught Kleiner’s 2-point conversion pass to make the final 36-16.

Coming—With the loss, the Trojans slipped to 1-3 while the Vikings improved to 3-1. Hillsboro will play its next game Sept. 30 at state-ranked Halstead (4-0), who is coming off a 54-7 win over Larned.

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