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Kevin Schnepf, Published October 02 2010

Hillsboro tops Sargent Central in battle of football unbeatens

HILLSBORO, N.D. – Big plays in a big game gave top-ranked Hillsboro a big boost of confidence.

In Friday night’s battle of Region 1 unbeatens in 9-man high school football, Hillsboro relied on one big play after another to roll to an unexpected 64-20 win over Sargent Central.

“It seemed like we got a big play when we needed and that really boosts your confidence,” said Hillsboro senior Alex McLean, who ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns, caught one pass for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 90 yards for another touchdown.

It was McLean’s kickoff return late in the second quarter that gave Hillsboro a 34-20 lead. When the ensuing kickoff accidentally ricocheted off a Sargent Central player, Hillsboro recovered and proceeded to punch in another score to build a 42-20 halftime lead.

For Sargent Central, which fell behind 14-0 during the first seven minutes of the game, it was too big of a hole to overcome. Plain and simple, according to Sargent Central head coach Chris Larson, his team gave up too many big plays.

Here are just some of the other big plays: Colby Tapson’s 77-yard touchdown reception that made it 14-0, McLean’s 44-yard run that set up a touchdown to give Hillsboro a 22-6 lead and Brandon Otto’s 56-yard kickoff return that set up a touchdown that gave Hillsboro a 28-14 lead.

“We just gave them too many big plays,” said Sargent Central head coach Chris Larson, whose team’s record fell to 5-1. “And that McLean had a heck of a game. He pretty much beat us single-handedly.”

Throw in his third-quarter 32-yard touchdown reception that gave Hillsboro a 50-20 lead, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound McLean ended up with 317 total yards. The junior quarterback Otto also ran for 87 yards and passed for 147 yards.

Hillsboro’s offensive explosion came without the services of senior running back Peter Otto, who was on the sideline with crutches after injuring his knee last week.

“Our offense was really efficient tonight,” said Hillsboro head coach Scott Olsen, whose team improves to 7-0. “This was a big confidence booster. We didn’t know where we were at coming into this game and I don’t think they (Sargent Central) knew where they were at.”

Prior to this season, Sargent Central had been winless since 2007.

Sargent Central 6 14 0 0 – 20

Hillsboro 22 22 12 8 – 64

H–McLean 36 run (run failed)

H–Tapson 77 pass from Otto (Anderson pass from Otto)

SC–Zimhelt 7 run (run failed)

H–McLean 23 run (Otto run)

SC–Zimhelt 26 run (Arp pass from Huckell)

H–Otto 8 run (run failed)

SC–Huckell 9 run (run failed)

H–McLean 90 kickoff return (run failed)

H–Anderson 19 pass from Otto (Zink pass from Otto)

H–McLean 32 pass from Otto (Anderson pass from Otto)

H–Otto 13 run (pass failed)

H–Dufner 31 run (Bolstad run)


RUSHING: SC, Zimhelt 12-61, Breker 10-35, Jablonsky 5-73. H, McLean 7-195, Otto 13-87, Dufner 3-27.

PASSING: SC, Huckell 7-13-0, 95 yards, Schlecht 0-1-0, 0 yards. H, Otto 4-7-0, 147 yards..

RECEIVING: SC, Zimhelt 3-68, Arp 3-12, Jablonsky 1-15. H, Tapson 1-77, Ydstie 1-19, Anderson 1-19, McLean 1-32.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549