NEW LISBON — Junior Cullen Pedersen pulled a rabbit out of the hat Friday night to lead Scenic Bluffs front-runner New Lisbon to a head-scratching 16–14 over upset-minded Hillsboro.
Despite allowing 330 yards rushing being outplayed by Hillsboro most of the game, it was Pedersen’s slight of hand that kept the league-leading Rockets (6–1, 5–0 SBC) unbeaten in conference play.
Pedersen rushed for a team-high 144 yards on 29 of his team’s 36 carries and accounted for all 16 of his team’s points with two touchdown passes and a pair of two-point conversion passes. He finished the night 6 of 11 passing for 70 yards without an interception.
Pedersen completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Allard on fourth-and-goal early in the second quarter to tie the game at 6–6.
The New Lisbon quarterback appeared to be caught in the backfield, but got off a desperation pass that found its way to Allard’s awaiting arms.
Pedersen then completed the two-point conversion pass to senior halfback Johnny Costello to give his team an 8–6 lead.
Hillsboro scored the game’s first touchdown on a 27-yard first-quarter run by Matt Bartels, but the point-after failed and the Tigers had to settle for a 6–0 advantage.
The Tigers regained the lead at the 6:18 mark of the second quarter when senior quarterback Grant Jefferies scored on a run from six yards out. Jefferies then hit sophomore Dacoda Preuss for the two-point conversion pass to make it 14–8.
With four minutes to play in the third quarter New Lisbon tied the game at 14–14 when Pedersen threw his second TD of the game, and ninth of the year, on a 5-yard bubble screen to Brett Fank.
Then, Pedersen and the Rockets tricked the Hillsboro D with a QB throwback from Costello to Pedersen for the eventual game-winning two-point conversion.
Pedersen has accounted for 1,659 yards of total offense (1,023 rushing, 636 passing) and 26 total touchdowns in seven games.
“I felt we outplayed them in every phase of the game other than the scoreboard,” said Hillsboro head coach Eric Auel. “We contained their QB, put pressure on him. We fairly decent against the pass.”
Hillsboro outgained New Lisbon, 330–220 in total yards and 330–150 on the ground, but did not complete a pass and threw an interception.
Senior fullback Max Sebranek rushed for a season-high 250 yards on 25 carries. Bartels rushed for 46 yards on five carries.
Hillsboro (4–3, 2–3) will travel to second-place Brookwood (6–1, 4–1) this Friday.