Falling behind 14-0 after one quarter Friday night at home, the Hillsboro varsity football team just couldn’t overcome the rough start, leading to a 34-12 defeat at the hands of the North County Raiders. The loss gives the Hawks a 4-2 season record.
North County scored on its first drive of the contest, going 67 yards in six plays. At the 9:38 mark, a 32 yard touchdown pass, coupled with the two point conversion, gave the Raiders an early 8-0 lead.
Possibly the biggest play of the night came with 5:02 remaining in the quarter. Hillsboro drove the ball down all the way to the North County one yard line before fumbling. The ball was picked up by the Raiders and returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Despite the two point conversion failing, the Raiders had a 14-0 first quarter lead and all the momentum.
To make matters worse, with the quarter winding down, despite Austin Perez picking off a pass for the Hawks, Hillsboro handed the ball right back to North County two plays later. The quarter ended with North County threatening again at the Hawks 37 yard line.
Opening the second quarter, a 24 yard run and 12 yard run placed the ball at the Hillsboro one yard line. From there, the Raiders upped their lead to 20-0 with a one yard rushing touchdown.
There was hope that the Hawks may have gained some momentum when, with 2:40 remaining in the half, Ethan Eckrich scored on a one yard run to make it 20-6. Both teams headed to the locker room with the Raiders up 14 points.
However, neither team could cross the goal line in the third quarter until there were just 12 ticks left on the clock. Another one yard rushing touchdown for North County extended the lead to 26-6. The Raiders would add another touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 32 yard touchdown pass with a two point conversion to make it 34-6. Hillsboro would close out the scoring when John Bennett ran the ball in from 27 yards out with 7:03 to go in the game. That made the final 34-12.
North County outgained the Hawks 399-262 for the game, having a big advantage through the air where the Raiders accumulated 129 passing yards. The Hawks had difficulty hanging on to the ball, fumbling five times, but losing it only twice.
Eckrich was 6-for-11 passing for 49 yards. His top target was Perez, who caught three passes for 32 yards. Bennett led the way with 104 rushing yards. Sam Wright was next with 37 yards, and Dylan Dace gained 34.
Defensively, John Moseley had six solo tackles and four assists to lead the Hawks. Seth Lowery added four solos and four assists, and also was credited with half a sack. Other top defenders included JC Griffin with four solos and two assists, and Ryan Larkin with three solos and three assists. Perez did have an interception.
The Hawks will get back to work and prepare for their next game on Friday, as they travel to DeSoto for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Dragons.