Local high school and college teams reap a bountiful fall harvest

Hillsboro High School athletic teams fared very well this fall.

The volleyball team finished second in the Class 2A state tournament. It’s always disappointing to get so close and fall just short of a championship, but playing for a championship is a great accomplishment.

Four girls received various area or state honors in volleyball – Sammie Saunders, Kori Arnold, Zaylee Werth, and Savannah Shahan.

Congratulations to the coaching staff, Sandy Arnold, Jill Hein, Lena Kleiner, and the entire team for an outstanding fall!

This year’s Trojan football team was as entertaining as they come, frequently lighting up the scoreboard thanks to an explosive offense. HHS finished 9-2 overall and was disappointed to come up a few points short of making the final four in Class 2A.

It’s impossible to say with certainty who is the all-time best quarterback in HHS football, but there’s no doubt that senior Matthew Potucek ranks at or near the top of the list. Potucek completed 97 out of 145 passes for 1,797 yards. He also had 97 carries for 930 yards. Teammate Jamari Harris ran for 1,065 yards.

As a team, Hillsboro gained 4,240 yards, an average of 385 yards per game.

Quarterback Potucek, running back Jamari Harris, offensive lineman Tristan Rathbone, tight end Duncan Duell, wide receiver Frank Wichert, and kick returner Pedro Nieto were unanimous first-team All-District 5 in Class 2A. Other first-team selections were offensive linemen Filow Cruz and Lane Rogers, and wide receiver Nicholas Smith. Nine of the 16 players named to the All-District 5 first team were Trojans.

Linebacker Tristan Rathbone and defensive back Matthew Potucek were first-team selections on the All-District defensive team. Other first-team selections on defense were lineman Jamari Harris, linebacker Garrett Helmer, defensive backs Jaxxon Hanschu and Frank Wichert, who also was a first-team selection as a kicker.

Congratulations to the entire football team, and coaching staff – Demetrius Cox, Scott O’Hare, Dennis Boldt, and Robert Haude. Let’s also give credit to the school staff, student body, community, and parents for their support.

Finally, kudos to Emersyn Funk, who finished 5th at the Class 2A State Cross Country meet, setting her own personal school record in the 5K at 20:04.

The Tabor men’s soccer team had a breakthrough season and tremendous turnaround after winning just one conference game a year ago. The Bluejays finished second in the conference under head coach Grant Brubacher, who was named KCAC Coach of the Year.

According to Tabor’s website, the Bluejays (10-6-1, 9-2-1 in KCAC) established a new mark in the Brubacher coaching era with nine league wins. The 10 overall wins are the best since 2013 for Tabor. The second-place finish matches the 2012 team for the highest finish by a Brubacher-coached Bluejay side.

The soccer team also qualified for the NAIA National Tournament for the first time since 1961. Tabor lost to a strong Central Methodist College squad in the opening round of the national tournament.

The Tabor volleyball team finished 10-2 in the KCAC, good for third place. The Bluejays were 17-12 overall.

Tabor’s football team had a losing season, but Andre Renteria was selected as a first-team running back in the KCAC. The senior from Denver finished the season third in the conference in rushing per game and total touchdowns. Renteria averaged 92.7 yards per game and scored 11 touchdowns this season.

Renteria was named KCAC Player of the Week for games played on Nov. 6, when he rushed for 166 yards on 25 carries, for 6.6 yards per carry.

Gunner Reiss, defensive back, was named to the All-KCAC second team, even though he missed five games because of injuries. Reiss was leading the nation in interceptions with five when he got injured.

Franklin Miller was named second-team punt returner, and honorable mention utility and kick returner.

In cross country, freshman Caden Cunningham from Richmond, Texas, qualified for the NAIA National Championship Cross Country Meet, where he finished 152nd out of 333 runners. Chances are good he’ll make an impact on the track team next spring as well.

More could be said, and I apologize if I overlooked someone, but the fall sports scene provided plenty of entertainment for local sports fans.


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