Friday’s home opener was more of the same for Eric Auel’s Hillsboro football team.
A week after clobbering Wonewoc–Center to open the season, Auel’s Tigers mauled visiting Kickapoo/La Farge 44–0 in Friday’s home opener.
Senior fullback Tyler Crandall rushed for 154 yards and three TDs on 13 carries.
Junior halfback Justin Muller added 97 yards on six carries, including a 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Senior halfback Tommy Crandall, who had a huge game a week early at Wonewoc–Center, rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
Hillsboro rushed for 384 yards on 37 carries and did not have an official pass attempt for a second straight week.
“Any win is a good win; however, I felt we could have performed at a much higher level than we did,” said Auel. “Due to difficulties in exchanges between our quarterback and center, and the wet conditions, the ball was on the ground way too much.”
The Tigers fumbled five times and lost three, preventing more of a rout.
“We also made a few careless mistakes with penalties,” added Auel. “Those are variables that need to be cleaned up as we go into league play. Defensively, our tackling was a bit better, but I thought we played too high on the defensive line. Our offensive line did a great job sustaining blocks and getting down field. That was nice to see. Every week we want to get a little better.”
Tommy Crandall’s five-yard run late in the first quarter broke a scoreless tie and gave the Tigers a 6–0 lead with 2:52 left in the opening quarter.
Tyler Crandall scored on runs of 14 yards and six yards on Hillsboro’s next two drives, and Muller and Tyler Crandall converted the 2-point runs to make it 22–0 with 8:40 left in the half.
“We were physically bigger and stronger than our opponents, which is not always the case,” said Auel. “Our O-line did a nice job getting off the ball, sustaining their blocks, and driving forward. Any time you can do that, you should be able to move the ball.”
But miscues with the ball ended back-to-back Tiger drives, and the teams went to half with the home team leading 22–0.
Hillsboro added to its advantage just 1:19 seconds into the second half, when Tyler Crandall broke loose for a 65-yard TD run. Tommy Crandall’s conversion run made it 30–0.
Muller scored from 48 yards out with 2:37 left in the third to make it 36–0.
Freshman Dane Bach completed the scoring a 24-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, and Austin Shore’s two-point conversion run provided the final margin of victory.
Seniors Hunter Stanek and Tommy Crandall led the Hillsboro defense with six tackles apiece. Ben Weber, Tyler Crandall and Max Stockwell were in on four stops each.
Hillsboro held the Predators (0–2) to just 135 yards rushing on 39 carries, most of that coming in the second half when the game was well in hand, and just six first downs, compared to 17 by the Tigers’ offense.
“While you can never ‘expect’ a win, I felt that we were the better team and should be able to dominate on both sides of the ball if we can remain focused on the job at hand,” said Auel. “I thought Kickapoo/La Farge did a nice job with a young team. While a win is always good, we’ve got to clean up some areas of our game to be competitive this week and down the road.”
Hillsboro (2–0) will host Cassville (2–0) in a non-conference game this Friday. The Comets hammered Six Rivers foe Shullsburg 70–22 in the season opener on Saturday, Aug. 22, then held on for a 13–6 win over defending Six Rivers West champion Potosi on Friday night.