WONEWOC — The Hillsboro Tigers needed just eight offensive plays in Friday’s non-conference season-opener at Wonewoc–Center to assert their dominance.
The Tigers scored four touchdowns on their first eight plays and led 30–0 before the first quarter was over.
From there, Hillsboro cruised to an easy 52–16 victory over the host Wolves, who for this year at least have left the Scenic Bluffs Conference for football.
Senior halfback Tommy Crandall rushed for 226 yards and four touchdowns on seven carries. Senior fullback Tyler Crandall added 74 yards and a TD on four carries and scored a pair of two-point conversions.
“I thought the offense played really well,” said Hillsboro head coach Eric Auel. “(Quarterback) Joe (Helgerson) made some nice reads and even when he missed a read or two he made plays. Our offensive line got off the ball and stayed on their blocks and controlled the line of scrimmage. We even ran some power plays that turned into long touchdowns. We are not a team that runs a lot of power, so it was nice to see our success on those plays. I didn’t have to be very creative Friday night with my play calling.”
Hillsboro needed just four plays, all handoffs to Tyler Crandall, to go 74 yards on its opening drive. Crandall scored from 22 yards out and Tommy Crandall added the 2-point conversion run to make it 8–0.
After the Hillsboro defense forced a 3-and-out and a punt, Tommy Crandall ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.
After another Wonewoc–Center punt, Tommy Crandall took the opening handoff of Hillsboro’s third drive and broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run. Tyler Crandall added his second two-point conversion run of the quarter and Hillsboro lead 22–0.
Max Stockwell blocked a Wonewoc–Center punt on the next possession and two plays later Tommy Crandall scored again, this time from 39 yards out to make it 30–0.
Tommy Crandall added his fourth touchdown of the night early in the second quarter.
Senior Joe Helgerson turned in the play of the night when he turned a botched play into a 55-yard run to set up his own short touchdown late in the second quarter.
When a running back missed his assignment, leaving Helgerson without a teammate to hand off to, the quick-thinking quarterback followed the block of Hunter Stanek, where the trap play was designed to be ran and turned the broken play into a big gain. He scored from five yards out on the next play to make it 44–0.
Justin Muller scored Hillsoro’s final touchdown early in the third quarter as the second string offense marched down the field with ease.
The Wolves (0–1) finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter when Thomas Jefferson-Ang scored on a 50-yard run against Hillsboro’s second-string defense. Ang added a 60-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Ang finished with 125 yards on 15 carries, but managed just three yards against Hillsboro’s starters.
“The defense played very well while they were out there,” said Auel. “There are still some things we can work on, we weren’t perfect by any means, but it was a nice defensive effort all the way around. Max Stockwell and Hunter Stanek were tough on the edge and they couldn’t really get anything going because we had too much penetration on the edge. Our linebackers stepped up and made some nice plays as well.”
Hillsboro rushed for 400 yards and seven TDs on 32 carries in the win. The Tigers only attempted to pass twice in the game, but Helgerson was sacked on one play and the other pass attempt was wiped out by offensive pass interference.
Hillsboro returns to action this Friday at home against Kickapoo/La Farge (0–1). The Predators suffered a 45–0 loss in last Friday’s opener against New Lisbon.
“I think we are physically a better team, but we have to stay focused and come out and play hard,” added Auel. “They are fairly young. They only have four seniors so they don’t have a lot of experience.”