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Hillsboro blanks Riverdale in season-opening win
Hillsboro fb feala
Sophomore halfback Noah Feala (3) looks for running room behind the blocks of teammates Derek Gardner (39), Jacob Urban (26), Yobani Mora (30) and James Anderson (74) in Hillsboros 350 season opening win at Riverdale last Friday night.

MUSCODA — A year after ending the 2016 on a six-game losing streak, Hillsboro head coach Eric Auel was optimistic about a turnaround in 2017.

Auel’s Tigers opened the season Friday night with a dominating 35–0 non-conference victory at Riverdale, snapping a six-game losing streak that dated back to Week 2 of the 2016 season, nearly a full calendar year ago.

Junior quarterback Dane Bach rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns and completed 7 of 10 passes for 88 yards and a fourth TD to lead the Hillsboro offense.

The Tigers’ defense played even better, limited the Chieftains to  56 yards of total offense and just two first downs.

“A lot of it was field position,” said Auel. “Our kicker (Sigurd Lilmose) had them pinned back the whole game and our defense played very well all night.” 

Lilmose is a foreign exchange student from Denmark with a strong leg. He made all five of his extra points Friday night, and continually booted kickoffs insides Riverdale’s 15-yard-line, including one touchback. 

“We were continually getting the ball in good field position,” said Auel. “Sigurd would pin them deep, our defense would force a three-and-out and we would get the ball back in their territory. We rarely had to go more than 50 yards all night. As a result, I was able to be a little more aggressive calling plays, especially passing the ball. I probably don’t call those plays at our own 10-yard-line.

“I also thought our kids owned the line of scrimmage and that was the difference in the game. If you play well in the trenches you can control the game.”

The team’s alternated punts to begin the game. Hillsboro put together a 55-yard scoring drive on its second possession of the game.

Bach had a 26-yard run to move the ball to the Riverdale 12, then four plays later, sophomore Noah Feala scored from a yard out. Lilmose added the extra point to make it 7–0 with 3:03 left in the opening quarter.

Senior Jacob Urban picked up 25 yards on the first play of the Tigers’ fourth possession and two plays later Bach tossed an 11-yard TD pass junior running back Garret Sagert on the first play of the second quarter to make it 14–0.

Bach broke loose on the third play of the second half for a 45-yard touchdown to cap a 3-play, 55-yard drive. He added a 10-yard TD run midway through the quarter to make it 28–0.

Bach closed out the scoring with a 4-yard run three minutes into the fourth quarter. 

“I thought we played a little high on the offensive line at times and that allowed us to not get some of the yards I thought we could have, especially early on,” said Auel. “There were also a few missed assignments, like pitch relationship and missed blocks. It’s the little things like that turn a possible 15 yard gain into a 3-4 yard game. But overall, we can’t be too upset. The kids played hard and we pulled out the win, but there are still plenty of things to work on.”

Urban and senior defensive end James Anderson led Hillsboro’s new 3–5 defense with six tackles apiece. Junior linebacker Hunter Landreth added five tackles in his first varsity start. 

“It’s hard to pick out any particular player on defense, because they all played pretty well,” said Auel. “All five of our linebackers played well and they weren’t able to get outside as Dane Bach and Jacob Urban controlled the perimeter. Tyler Benish and Hunter Landreth made a couple of nice tackles for loss. Up front Mike Brand played well at nose tackle and disrupted a number of plays. James Anderson always plays well at defensive end and Ashton played solid at the other end.”

Auel was also pleased with his team’s overall improvement in just one week since the scrimmage. 

“Our kids were just more aggressive than in the scrimmage,” explained Auel. “They were hitting harder, flying to the ball and playing harder. Another thing is that you prepare for a game unlike a scrimmage, so maybe they had a better understanding of their mission.

“It’s been a long time since this crew had a win. Week 2 of last year was a long time ago, so naturally the kids were excited. It was a step in the positive directions. We are optimistic for Week 2.”

Hillsboro (1–0) will host Kickapoo/La Farge (0–1) Friday at 7 p.m. The Predators opened the season with a 56–22 loss to New Lisbon.


Hillsboro 35, Riverdale 0

(from Friday, Aug. 18 @ Muscoda)

Hillsboro 7 7 14 7 — 35

Riverdale 0 0 0 0 — 0

First quarter

H: Noah Feala 1 run (Sigurd Lilmose kick)

Second quarter

H: Garret Sagert 11 pass from Dane Bach (Lilmose kick)

Third quarter

H: Bach 45 run (Lilmose kick)

H: Bach 10 (Lilmose kick) 

Fourth quarter

H: Bach 4 run (Lilmose kick) 

Team Statistics

First downs — H 21, R 2. Rushing — H 42-224, R: 31-56. Passing (comp-att-int, yds) — H 7-10-0, 88, R 0-7-0, 0. Fumbles–lost H 1-0, R 0-0. Penalties-yards H 7-45, R 3-20. 

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Rushing — H: Dane Bach 18-155, Jacob Urban 5-36. R: Tyler Hach 8-20, Logan Heffner 8-20. Passing — H: Bach 7-10-0, 88. R: Caleb Johnson 0-7-0, 0. Receiving — H: Nick Stekel 3-36. R: none.