For the second week in a row, the Hillsboro football team was overwhelmed early by a superior football team, losing Friday to the South?east of Saline Trojans 42-0 at Joel H. Wiens Stadium in Hills?boro.
Except for the shutout, this game followed a scenario similar to Hillsboro?s 56-14 loss to Hesston a week earlier. SES raced to a huge (42-0) lead by halftime, and the two teams played the entire second half with a running clock.
One key difference this time was that Hillsboro?s opponent drew first blood, scoring twice in the first two minutes of the game to set the tone.
SES quarterback Cody Schlesener ran in from 37 yards on the third play of the game for a 7-0 lead. Hills?boro then fumbled the pooch kickoff, and SES recovered the ball at Hillsboro?s 43-yard line. Consecutive 21- and 22-yard running plays put the visitors in the end zone at the 10:15 mark.
?At some point we?ve got to compete,? coach Lance Sawyer said afterward. ?When we?re down 14 we can compete as much as being down zero. The guys have to be more mentally tough.?
SES added a third running touchdown with 1:19 left in the first quarter to push the margin to 21-0.
After scoring again three minutes into the second quarter, SES tacked on two more touchdowns in the final 1:45 of the half for the 42-0 bulge at intermission.
Hillsboro had several opportunities to score in the abbreviated second half, but couldn?t break through. The home team drove to the SES 1-yard line to start the third quarter. But three running plays failed to cover that final yard, and SES took over on the 5-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, Hillsboro drove to the SES 13, but two running plays lost 11 yards and an incomplete pass made it fourth down at the 24-yard line. Jeff Jorgenson attempted a 41-yard field goal with a south breeze at his back, but he mis-hit the ball to keep the shutout in place.
Late in the game, Hills?boro recovered a fumble at the Southeast 30-yard line and drove to the 11 in six plays. But on fourth-and-1, quarterback Justus Hilliard fumbled and SES recovered at its 7-yard line.
Three negative running plays pushed SES back to its 1-yard line, but the visitors avoided a safety by letting the clock run.
?I thought the offense moved the ball, I thought the defense looked good?but it was the same thing we talked about at halftime, finishing plays,? Sawyer said. ?We couldn?t finish drives and we couldn?t finish plays.?
Southeast rolled up 404 total yards, including 282 on the ground, compared to Hillsboro?s offensive output of 151 yards?80 on the ground and 71 through the air.
With the loss, Hillsboro dropped to 2-6 overall and 0-2 in district play. Southeast improved to 8-1 and will face 8-1 Hesston next Thursday for the district title. Both teams will advance to the playoff, however.
Hillsboro will finish its season Thurs?day at home against Council Grove (5-3).
?They can?t play for anything else now, so they have to play for each other,? Sawyer said. ?It all depends how they come out to play.?
Kickoff is 7 p.m.