The team may be called the Swathers, but it was a buzzsaw named Ryan Schadler who sliced up the Hillsboro defense for 420 rushing yards and six touchdowns in Hesston?s 56-28 win over Hillsboro Friday at Joel H. Wiens Stadium.
Hesston rolled up just under 700 yards total offense for the night, but the Trojans moved the ball impressively too, finishing with 450 yards on 25 fewer plays. But three scoreless ventures into the red zone cost Hillsboro a more respectable margin at the end of the game?and perhaps even a victory, given the potential swing of momentum.
The first quarter set the tone for the evening. The Trojans took the opening kickoff and drove to the Swather 10-yard line in 10 plays. But the drive ended when Hesston blocked Jesse Brown?s field-goal attempt with the ball on the 8-yard line.
After Hillsboro stopped Hesston on a fourth-and-3 at the Trojan 43-yard line, Hillsboro went three-and-out. But Cody Delk?s punt pinned the Swathers at their own 1-yard line. On the next play, Schadler broke off left tackle and raced 99 yards for Hesston?s first score with 4:25 left in the quarter.
Despite the sock in the gut, the Trojans came right back — as they did all night — marching from their 35-yard line to the Swather 14 in eight plays. From there, Brown connected with Evan Ollenburger for the touchdown on a pass along the Hesston sideline.
With scored tied at 7, Hesston moved from its 20-yard line to the Trojan 47 on four Schadler runs, then quarterback Wyatt McKin?ney ran it in from there for a 14-7 lead with less than a minute left in the period.
The storyline all but repeated itself in the second quarter. The Trojans scored first, marching to the Hesston 12-yard line to start the quarter. But the Swathers stopped Hillsboro there when a fourth-and-7 pass fell incomplete.
On Hesston?s next play, Schadler blitzed the Trojans for an 88-yard scoring run and a 21-7 lead with 7:50 left in the half. Hillsboro came back to score again on a six-play, 71-yard drive capped by Brown?s 9-yard touchdown run with 5:36 to play.
But Hesston got two more touchdowns from Schadler before halftime, one a 34-yard pass from McKinney with 3:50 left, and the other an 11-yard untouched scamper up the middle with 1:31 to play.
Hesston?s 35-14 lead at intermission became all but insurmountable when the Swather added yet another Schadler running touchdown to open the second half — this one of 46 yards for a 42-14 lead.
Hillsboro and Hesston each added two more scores as the game ended with a continuous clock in the fourth period. Hillsboro?s touchdowns came on a 49-yard lob pass over the middle from Brown to Delk with 1:15 left in the third period, and then a 61-yard swing pass from backup quarterback Jakob Hanschu to Preston Nelson with 5:17 left in the game.
Brown finished with 17 completions in 32 attempts for 295 yards and two touchdowns, while Hanschu was 4-for-6 for 51 yards and a touchdown. For the first time this season, Hillsboro broke the 100-yard barrier on the ground, finishing with 104 on 26 carries. Brown ran for 80 of those yards on 18 carries.
The loss dropped Hillsboro to 2-2 for the season while Hesston remained undefeated at 4-0. The Trojans will travel to Lindsborg next Friday to tak eon Smoky Valley.