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Tigers fumble away undefeated season
Hillsboro fumbles six times, loses four, in shutout loss to Cashton
joe helgerson throws ball away
Hillsboro quarterback Joe Helgerson throws the football away to avoid a sack during the Tigers 19-0 Homecoming loss to the visiting Cashton Eagles Sept. 25, ending the teams undefeated season. - photo by Angie Nachtigal photo

     HILLSBORO — Hillsboro shot itself in the foot over, and over, and over again in Friday’s 19–0 Homecoming loss to Cashton.

     The Tigers (5–1, 2–1 SBC) fumbled six times, losing four, and never really sustained an offensive drive in the game.

     The visiting Eagles (3–3, 2–1) meanwhile overcame three turnovers of their own, thanks in large part to Hillsboro’s fumbling mishaps. Cashton did manage 290 yards rushing on 56 carries.

     “We struggled with a number of issues offensively,” said Hillsboro head coach Eric Auel. “We had several costly penalties during what drives we were able to sustain. We missed many blocks, dropped some passes, failed to line up in the correct formations at times and just seemed to have a lack of overall focus. We weren’t the aggressors and it caught up to us.”

     Cashton’s Jaden Schmitz scored on an 18-yard run midway through the first quarter to give the Eagles an early 6–0 lead.
Schmitz finished the night with a game-high 109 yards on 24 carries.

     “Cashton did a nice job balancing its inside run and outside run,” said Auel. “ Their traps were effective and were able to get the edge on a couple of sweeps.  With that said, we didn’t do a good job aligning to their unbalanced formations and overpursued a few times. Our tackling wasn’t up to par and didn’t control the line of scrimmage like we are capable of doing.”

     The two teams traded turnovers and punts the rest of the half.

     Cole Bernett’s 15-yard touchdown run with 6:38 left in the third quarter gave Cashton a 12–0 lead.

     Less than two minutes later, after yet another Hillsboro turnover, Cashton quarterback Noah Flock scored on a five-yard run and Dylan Campton added the extra point to complete the scoring.

     “There were fumbles in every facet of the game,” said Auel. “ We had a punt snapped over our punter’s head, we had miscues on exchanges between our quarterback and center, we had a backwards pass dropped that resulted in a fumble, and we had a breakaway run where the ball was punched out from behind.

     “I personally don’t believe that Cashton slowed us down offensively, it was more of us slowing ourselves down. They had some quality kids on their team and did what they had to do to give us problems, but in reality our mistakes were the true story. We have to own this one. I felt that we’ve played three opponents that were just as good, if not better than them.

     “I’d love to have this one over today. I think you would see a very different result. I would love the opportunity to make ourselves playoff eligible and have a shot at them again. However, we have to move on and take care of business. Sometimes adversity can bring out the best in a team. If you are able to learn from your mistakes, sometimes, it’s not a mistake. Hopefully this experience will make us a better team.”

     With the loss, the Tigers’ five-game winning streak came to an end and they fell out of a first-place tie with Bangor (6–0, 3–0), which so happens to be Hillsboro’s next opponent. The Tigers will travel to Bangor on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

     The Cardinals are coming off a 49–6 victory over Royall. They have outscored their opponents 217–13 in six games this year. The Bangor defense recorded four consecutive shutouts over Blair–Taylor, Brookwood, Highland and Cashton. The Cardinals throttled Cashton, 49–0, two weeks ago.

     Senior halfback Andrew Piske is the focal point of the Bangor offense. He has rushed for 927 yards and 17 touchdowns this year.

     Senior quarterback Kellen Kravik has completed 9 of 20 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns this season in limited opportunities as Bangor averaged just over three pass attempts per game.

Cashton 19, Hillsboro 0
(from Friday, Sept. 25 @ Hillsboro)
Cashton      6    0    13   0     — 19
Hillsboro    0    0     0    0     —   0
First quarter
C: Jaden Schmitz 18 run (kick failed)
Third quarter
C: Cole Bernett 15 run (pass failed)
C: Noah Flock 5 run (Dylan Campton kick)
Team Statistics
First downs: C 17, H 7. Rushing: C 56-290, H 33-1114. Passing: C 2-7-2, 26, H 6-10-1, 48. Fumbles–lost: C 1-1, H 6-4. Penalties: C 9-90, H 7-45.
Individual Statistics
Rushing: C: Jaden Schmitz 24-109, Jeffry Janzen 19-82; H: Tommy Crandall 9-40. Passing: C: Noah Flock 2-5-1, 26; H: Joe Helgerson 6-10-1, 48. Receiving: C: Gabe Anderson 1-16, Schmitz 1-10; H: Tommy Crandall 2-24, Ethan Thorson 2-12.