Hillsdale hung with undefeated Wyoming Kelloggsville for longer than a lot of people thought they would, but ultimately their season ended with a 22-8 loss more than two hours away from home Friday night.
The Hornets never quit this season, turning an 0-3 start into a six win team who made the playoffs, but 36 total yards of offense and a few crucial defensive lapses just were not enough to beat an undefeated team playing with its home crowd behind it.
“I thought our kids played hard all night long, you just can’t make mistakes this time of year against good football teams,” Hillsdale head coach Marc Lemerand said. “We did a good job with no turnovers, we just didn’t make as many plays as they did.”
One of the plays that Kelloggsville made heading into halftime may have been the biggest of them all.
Nursing an 8-0 lead, they were able to score on a 5-yard run by Mike Redmond with 0:00 showing on the clock, to bump it up to a two-score margin.
“That was huge because we got the ball to start the second half and there’s a big difference in being down one score to being down two,” Lemerand said. “They just had a long pass to get it down to the five and punched it in.”
Doing most of the damage Friday was Brown, who had 20 carries for 173 yards and touchdown, which was a 74-yard score in the second quarter.
“He runs as hard as anybody we’ve seen all year,” Lemerand said. He’s a state champion wrestler and it takes two or three guys to get him down every time.”
Meanwhile Hillsdale managed only 26 yards on the ground, and a 1-for-10 effort from the passing game, led by Travis Hodos, whose lone completion was a 10-yard touchdown strike to Nick Reiniche.
Despite failing to advance to round two Lemerand had plenty to say about this group’s character and determination that came out the past two months.
“I’m really proud of this group of guys. They never quit, they never quit working and after starting 0-3 they won six straight,” he said. “Each team has its own strengths and weaknesses and different types of talent and what we did this year was try to capitalize on our strengths. Our kids adjust well to some changes we made and they did everything we asked of them.”
Aaron Blanchard had 29 yards rushing and Reiniche added 24.
Brian Vear had 10 tackles and Sonny McCoy registered eight.