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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Hillsboro ground game too much for Sikeston

Thursday, November 3, 2011

sports@standard-democrat.com

HILLSBORO -- Motion in the backfield, followed by the snap, led to an average of five yards a carry for the Hillsboro Hawks.

Their ground-and-pound running style barreled over the Sikeston Bulldogs to the tune of 267 rushing yards on 51 attempts during their Regional matchup on Wednesday night which aided the Hawks to a nail-biting 34-32 win.

Hillsboro will advance to the Sectional round on Monday when they will play the District 1 winner -- Farmington.

"They're strong, physical and they do things really well," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said about their offense. "They're fundamentally sound and they did what a winning football team has to do."

Hillsboro senior Nathan Walsh led their Wing-T offense with 136 yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown.

"Nathan did fine," Hillsboro head coach Brian Robbins said about his running back. "We're not very big on the line and I think our kids overachieve a lot. Nathan's a quality back."

Walsh credited Hillsboro's offensive line for his productive night through the tackles.

"For the most part, we did," Walsh said when asked if Hillsboro's offensive line was able to control Sikeston's defense. "They got us a few times but that's football. Our running game just opens up everything. It just makes everything a lot better."

On top of Walsh bowling over Sikeston defenders, Hillsboro's Austin Wagner added 79 yards on 16 touches while David McClellan added nine carries for 48 yards.

"We've had a lot of guys run the ball," said Walsh. "Over the course of the year, I think somewhere around 10 guys have rushed the ball and they're all averaging pretty decent amounts. That opens up our passing game."

While the Hawks kept gaining chunks of yardage on the turf, they would slip in a playaction pass that burnt the Bulldogs on two of Hillsboro quarterback Justin Horn's four completions on the night.

Horn was 4 of 9 for 112 yards and two touchdown passes. He also added a 1-yard running score.

"Sometimes we'll lull you to sleep a little bit," Robbins said. "We're very capable of throwing the football and Justin does a nice job with it. We've got a couple of guys that can catch it and do something with it.

"When we can take our shots, we'll take them."

Not only did the Hawks excel on offense, they also kept the high-scoring, big-play Bulldogs under wraps besides their late comeback in the fourth quarter.

"They're fast," Walsh said. "I thought we did a fairly good job of containing that, though. We fought hard, kept swinging and we turned the ball over three times but, we still won.

"They're a heck of a football team. No doubt about that."