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Tigers bring Rockets down to earth
Hillsboro overcomes a slow start to move to 5-0
joe helgerson tommy crandall justin muller
Hillsboro quarterback Joe Helgerson (12) hands the football to running back Tommy Crandall (33) while his brother Tyler (9), Justin Muller (86) and Ashton Mislivecek (88) open running room for him Sept. 18 during the Tigers 32-6 win over the host New Lisbon Rockets. - photo by Angie Nachtigal photo

     NEW LISBON — Senior Tommy Crandall rushed for a game-high 198 yards and a late 56-yard touchdown to lead Hillsboro to a 32–6 victory at New Lisbon Friday night.

     Senior quarterback Joe Helgerson added 48 yards and a pair of short TD runs and also threw a touchdown pass in the blowout.

     The Hillsboro offense sputtered in the rain during the first 24 minutes and only led 8–6 at the half.

     Helgerson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass less than five minutes into the game and Crandall added the two-point conversion run for an 8–0 lead, but the Tigers would not score again until midway through the third quarter.

     New Lisbon (4–1, 2–1) pulled within two points on a Kyle Woodward 21-yard touchdown run with 5:19 left in the first, but the Tigers snuffed out the conversion pass.

     The Hillsboro defense kept the Tigers in control the rest of the way until the offense could get on track, holding New Lisbon to just 136 total yards and eight first downs.

     Crandall led the Tigers defense with nine tackles. Jacob Urban and Ben Weber each finished with four tackles.

     Helgerson scored on a 1-yard run with 5:50 left in the third and Justin Muller’s conversion run made it 16–6.

     Helgerson scored again from a yard out with six minutes to play and completed the conversion pass to Stockwell to increase the lead to 24–6.

     Crandall put the finishing touches on his big night when he broke free with 2:45 left in the game. Helgerson added the two-point conversion — Hillsboro’s fourth of the night on four tries — to complete the scoring.

     “Any win is a good win. However, I don’t feel we played to the level of our potential on Friday,” said Hillsboro head coach Eric Auel. “We made far too many offensive mistakes, far too many penalties, and didn’t play with the same type of discipline and enthusiasm as we did the week prior.

     “Hopefully, we’ll be able to correct our mistakes from last week and raise the bar and play to our potential this week. We got started slow but were able to close the deal in the fourth quarter.”

     The Tigers lost senior Tyler Crandall to a knee injury midway through the second quarter. The MRI came back negative and he should be able to return in two weeks for the showdown with fellow league-leader Bangor (5–0, 2–0).

     But before then, Hillsboro must take care of business in Friday’s annual Homecoming game against Cashton (2–3, 1–1).

     “Homecoming is every high school coach’s Achilles’ heel,” said Auel. “We’re hoping to minimize the distractions that come along with Homecoming and raise the level of intensity and excitement for the game.

     “Cashton has size and talent, despite what their record may suggest. They’ve beaten us in a couple of close games over the past few years, and hopefully that will help focus the kids on the task at hand. If we play like we can, we should be able to play with anyone in our league.”

     With a dominating 5–0 start, a special season may be unfolding in Hillsboro, but Auel is willing to acknowledge the possibility.

     “You never really know the ceiling of a team until you get to the playoffs, however, if we can get and remain healthy, I think the ceiling could be a high one,” added Auel. “Health is a critical factor in the game of football. It’s an aggressive and demanding grind every week. I feel we can compete for the conference championship and run deep into the playoffs if we can get healthy and play to our potential.”

Hillsboro 32, New Lisbon 6
(from Friday, Sept. 18 @ New Lisbon)
Hillsboro       8    0    8    16     —  32
New Lisbon   6    0    0     0     —   6

First quarter
H: Max Stockwell 30 pass from Joe Helgerson (Tommy Crandall run)
NL: Kyle Woodward 21 run (pass failed)
Third quarter
H: Helgerson 1 run (Justin Muller run)
Fourth quarter
H: Helgerson 1 run (Stockwell pass from Helgerson)
H: Tommy Crandall 56 run (Helgerson run)
Team Statistics
First downs: H 20, NL 8. Rushing: H 53-315, NL 27-109. Passing Yards: H 93, NL 27 Passing: H 7-11-0, NL 4-12-1. Fumbles–lost: H 1-1, NL 0-0. Penalties: H 11-75, NL 8-40.
Individual Statistics
Rushing: H: Tommy Crandall 17-198, Joe Helgerson 15-48; NL: Kyle Woodward 19-94. Passing: H: Helgerson 7-9-0, 93;NL: Cade Haschke 4-12-1, 27. Receiving: H: Max Stockwell 2-45, Cory Hora 2-23; NL: Kyle Woodward 2-22.

The Tigers (5–0, 2–0 SBC) have now outscored their five opponents 172–29 this year.