Caleb Riordan | Ameritime Sports Writer
The Hillsboro Hawks’ Varsity Football Team ended their regular season in dominant fashion with a 45-19 victory over the Poplar Bluff Mules.
This was the seventh consecutive win for the Hawks and the scoreboard makes it appear as a blowout. However, the Hawks did battle a little adversity throughout the game. They put themselves on the board first when Griffin Ray hit Austin Romaine for a ten-yard touchdown pass that gave the Hawks the initial lead. Poplar Bluff struck back with a five-yard touchdown pass of their own. They converted the point after touchdown and took a 7-6 lead. Ray gave his team the lead back when he scampered for a 28-yard touchdown that put Hillsboro up 12-7 by the end of the first quarter.
Romaine found the end zone for the second time in the game to start off the second quarter when he rushed in a five-yard touchdown that extended their lead to 19-7. The Mules weren’t going away quietly. They threw another touchdown pass shortly after that cut the Hawks’ lead to just six. Romaine continued to add to his big game when he rushed for another touchdown from two yards out that capped off all of the first-half scoring. The Hawks led 25-13 at the half.
The second half started out quiet. Neither team scored again until the fourth quarter. But it was Romaine again who found pay dirt when he punched in a one-yard touchdown that extended Hillsboro’s lead to 31-13. Poplar Bluff showed they still had some life left in them when they finally scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass that made the score 31-19. However, that was the last time the Mules put points on the board. Jaxin Patterson rushed for a 40-yard touchdown and Ray punched in another score before the game ended as well. The Hawks secured the 45-19 victory and improved to 8-1.
Patterson was an absolute workhorse throughout the game for Hillsboro. He carried the ball a whopping 37 times for 289 yards and a touchdown. Romaine racked up 21 carries for 145 yards and three touchdowns and caught a touchdown as well. Ray had 49 total yards and three touchdowns. The Hawks had 492 yards of total offense and the Mules simply had no answer for it.
Harrison Voyles led the defense with five and a half tackles while Cruz Valencia and Canyon Stout were right behind with four tackles each. Romaine had three tackles and Alex Tabares-Medina had two and a half.
That completes Hillsboro’s regular season. They are playing the best football they’ve played all year and haven’t lost a game since the first week of September. They are prepared to take on whoever stands in their path on their way to a district title.
They’ll have to wait an extra week though, as they earned a first round bye in the District Playoffs.