The Hillsboro Hawks dominated on the ground in Week 1 on Friday night, rushing for 329 yards as they jumped all over Sikeston early in a 49-14 road victory for their first W of the 2021 season.
The Hawks got the running game going early as Senior and Kansas State commit Austin Romaine rushed into the endzone from 27 yards out to put Hillsboro on the board early, 6-0, with 11:11 left to go in the opening quarter. The extra point was missed.
The Hawks then held the Bulldogs to a three-and-out on Sikeston’s first offensive possession of the season, getting the ball back with favorable field position.
Hillsboro again found paydirt as the Bulldog’s defense allowed little to no opposition with Romaine finding the endzone once again just two minutes later, running the ball in from 21 yards out to up the Hawks’ advantage to 14-0 with Hillsboro punching in a successful 2-point conversion.
The Hawks’ defense once again stymied the Sikeston offense, holding the Bulldogs to just three more offensive plays with no success.
Hillsboro first-year starting quarterback Preston Brown found Junior wide receiver Dalton Ross for another 21-yard touchdown, with kicker Nick Marchetti drilling the extra point to up the Hawk’s lead to 21-0 with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter.
Another punt by Sikeston set up Hillsboro with good field position as the Hawks marched down the field with Junior Jaxon Patterson running the football in from a yard out to give them a commanding 28-0 lead with 1:33 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter found the Hawks scoring early as running back Cohen Linderer ran in a handoff from 31 yards out to give Hillsboro a 35-0 advantage with Marchetti nailing the extra point.
Sikeston would get on the scoreboard with just over two minutes remaining in the half as Senior quarterback Joseph Heckemeyer ran in from 5 yards out to get the Bulldogs in the scoring column, although trailing 35-6 with the 2-point conversion failing.
Brown would put Hillsboro up 42-6 just before the end of the half as the Sophomore completed a pass to Junior wideout Chase Sucharski in the endzone.
The second-half scoring saw the Hawk’s backup quarterback AJ Heuszel run the football in from five yards out in the fourth quarter to give Hillsboro a commanding 49-6 lead with Marchetti converting the extra point.
The Bulldogs found the endzone late to diminish the Hawk’s lead to 49-14, as Sikeston converted a 2-point conversion, but it was far from enough to close an insurmountable gap.
Hillsboro out-gained the Bulldogs 497 to 149 yards, as the Hawks pounded out 329 on the ground. Romaine scored two times and racked up 125 yards with Brown rushing for 74 yards, Patterson for 60 yards and a touchdown and Linderer racking up 60 yards and a TD.
On the QB side of things, Brown completed 8-of-11 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, while Heuszel was 3/3 for 17 yards.
The receiving corps was led by Dalton Ross who caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Romaine led the charge at linebacker with 7.5 tackles with two of those for loss. Griffin Ray tallied the lone sack in the game, but the full story was the overall sure-handed tackling of the Hawks.
Hillsboro (1-0) will now face Cape Central at home on September 2nd for their Week 2 tilt. The Tigers are also 1-0 with a 54-12 win over St. Charles.