ONTARIO — If Hillsboro ultimately doesn’t qualify for the 2017 WIAA playoffs, Friday night’s double overtime loss at Brookwood will be the one game to point to.
The Tigers dominated much of the game on both sides of the ball, but committed three turnovers and were held to a pair of field goals in regulation.
Given a final chance to snatch victory from defeat, Jack Mulavaney completed a two-point conversion pass to Brayden Leis on the final play of the game to lift the host Brookwood Falcons to a 14–13 double overtime victory over the stunned Tigers.
Brookwood improved to 6–1 overall and remained unbeaten in the Scenic Bluffs Conference at 4–0. Meanwhile, Hillsboro fell to 4–3 overall and 2–3 in the SBC, and will now face a win-or-the-season’s-over de facto playoff game at New Lisbon (4–3, 2–2) in the regular season finale next Friday. First, the Tigers must regroup for a non-conference game against visiting Shullsburg (1–6) this Friday.
“We played pretty well, especially defensively,” said Hillsboro head coach Eric Auel. “They had a hard time moving the ball and only really moved it right at the end of the game. Offensively, we moved the ball up and down the field, but we turned it over in scoring position three times. We had chances to take control of the game and just didn’t do it.”
Hillsboro, who was without injured starters Dane Bach (knee), Paul Andrew–Griffin and Nick Stekel, took the opening kickoff and drove to the Brookwood 25, but turned the ball over on downs.
The teams traded punts and the Hillsboro defense stopped the Falcons on downs at the Tigers’ 23 on the first play of the second quarter.
The Hillsboro defense came up with a goal line stand on Brookwood’s ensuing possession forcing an incomplete pass on 4th-and 7 from the Tigers’ 10-yard-line.
The Tigers then drove to the Brookwood 16, but Yobani Mora, who rushed for 49 yards on the drive, was turned back on 4th-and-1 with 49 seconds left in the half.
An interception by Tyler Weber on the very next play gave Hillsboro one final chance and a few plays later Danish exchange student Sigurd Lilmose booted a 28-yard field goal to break the scoreless tie.
The Tigers fumbled away their first two possessions of the second half, but Lilmose connected on a 25-yard field goal with 4:30 left in the game to make it 6–0. A 58-yard run by sophomore Noah Feala set up the kick.
Brookwood then put together its best drive of the game, covering 69 yards on 11 plays, capped by a 19-yard Mulvaney to Robert Cunitz TD pass on 4th-and-goal with 1:44 left, to tie the game at 6–6.
The Hillsboro defense forced an incompletion on the conversion tie and the game went to overtime.
The Tigers defense again forced an incompletion on 4th-and-goal at the 7, but the Hillsboro offense fumbled away its chance to win the game at the Brookwood 12 on its first overtime possession.
The Tigers regrouped and covered 25 yards in five plays, with senior Jacob Urban going the final five. Lilmose booted the extra point to make it 13–7.
Brookwood answered on the very next play as Tanner Rynes went 25 yards for the touchdown to make it 13–12 and set up the final play.
Mulvaney hit Leis on a fade pattern to the right corner of the end zone for the game-winner setting off a wild celebration on the home sidelines.
“We knew they were probably going to go for the win,” said Auel. “We had stopped them many times on the pass on similar situations on fourth and goal in the game and we were getting pressure so we felt good in that situation. They were just able to convert on that one play and that was that.”
Auel admits Friday night was a missed chance to clinch a playoff berth and a better seed, but knows his Tigers still control their own fate.
“Our destiny is still in our hands,” said Auel. “We have to play as well as we can and take care of business the next too weeks.. We have two winable games and if we play like we did Friday night, without the turnovers, I think we will be in good shape.”
Brookwood 14, Hillsboro 13
(from Friday, Sept. 29 @ Ontario)
Hillsboro 0 3 0 3 7 — 13
Brookwood 0 0 0 6 8 — 14
H: FG Sigurd Lilmose 28
H: FG Lilmose 25
B: Robert Cunitz to Jack Mulvaney 19 (pass failed)
H: Jacob Urban 5 run (Lilmose kick)
B: Tanner Rynes 25 run (Brayden Leis pass from Mulvaney)
First downs — H 11, B 17. Rushing — H 57-265, B 42-159. Passing (comp-att-int, yds) — H 0-3-1, 0; H 3-3-0, 127. Fumbles–lost — R 6-3, H 0-0. Penalties-yards — R 0-0, H 7-55.
Rushing — H: Noah Feala 12-121. B: Ben DeWitt 26-90. Passing — H: Trent Thorson 0-4-0, 0. B: Jack Mulvaney 9-26-2, 119. Receiving — H: none. B: Garrett Gerke 2-52, Robert Cunitz 4-47. Tackles — H: Tyler Weber 9, Mike Brand 7, Hunter Landrath 5.