It turned out to be a David vs. Goliath mismatch?but without the Divine intervention.
The undefeated Halstead Dragons, ranked as high as No. 2 in Class 3A, ran over and through a much younger and under?sized Hillsboro squad to the tune of 55-7 Friday night at Joel Wiens Stadium.
The Dragons delivered a haymaker at the very start when running back Blake Beckett rumbled 83 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
?It set the tone,? coach Lance Sawyer said. ?Our defense was playing on our heels for a little while. Offen?sively, we played on our heels, too.
?It turns out (the Dra?gons) are pretty good.?
With the loss, Hillsboro dropped to 0-3 for the season while the Dragons improved to 3-0.
The Trojans? best ally may have been the intervention of the running clock, which was in effect for the entire second half after a 43-0 margin at intermission.
After Beckett?s early score, Halstead scored a second touchdown midway through the first quarter and were knocking on the door for a third one when the quarter ended.
Quarterback Elijah McKee cashed in the final five yards on the very next play for a 21-0 lead. The Dragons scored three more times before intermission, almost at will.
After Hillsboro?s opening drive of the second half stalled in seven plays, Hal?stead?s second team drove 60 yards in seven plays for touchdown No. 7.
Hillsboro then marched to the Halstead 5-yard line on one of its best offensive possessions of the night, only to fumble away the football when the Trojan receiver mishandled a lateral pass.
In a rare home-team break on this night, the Trojans recovered a Hal?stead fumble three plays later at the Dragon 23-yard line.
They dodged a shutout on the next play when quarterback Kaden Kleiner connected with wide receiver Jacob Funk for a 23-yard score. Wes Shaw kicked the extra point for a 49-7 tally with 3:45 left in the game.
But reality rudely returned when Halstead?s Christian Morris ran back the ensuing kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown and the final 55-7 margin.
Halstead out-rushed the Trojans 459 yards to 41. Hills?boro had slightly more success through the air with quarterback Kaden Kleiner completing 10 of 24 passes for 91 yards.
Sawyer said he hopes his fledgling team takes the game?s outcome as motivation.
?I hope they look at it and realize we could get there in two or three years,? he said. ?We?ve got to learn that if we execute well and play tackling-tough defense, we can get to that level.
?But we have to take some lumps along the way and this was one of them.?
Coming?The road doesn?t get much easier Friday, when the Trojans travel to undefeated Hoi?sington (3-0). The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 109-41, including a 34-14 win over Pratt on Friday.