HILLSBORO – The Hillsboro High School Hilltoppers hosted the Roxana Shells in the opening round of the Class 3A football playoffs. Both teams entered the game with 6-3 records from the regular season.
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It was Roxana who spoiled the party in Hillsboro by defeating them by a score of 13-7 Saturday afternoon.
The two teams were once in the same conference before the Shells moved out of the South Central Conference and into the Cahokia Mississippi. Roxana has now won the last three meetings between them.
The Toppers received the ball at the opening kickoff and took it up to their 42-yard line. During that drive, the Shells recovered a forced fumble and regained possession at their own 28-yard line.
After a long drive that included a couple of 4th down completions, Roxana found themselves in scoring position. Junior running back Evan Wells ran in a 15-yard touchdown with 3:41 remaining in the first quarter. The kick was good to make it 7-0.
The Toppers did have a response and it came right before halftime. Zane Duff threw a 19-yard pass to Zander Wells who scored with 38 seconds remaining in the half. The kick was good from Jaben Compton to tie the game up at 7-7. That’s how things would stand heading into the locker room.
After five straight punts, and neither team being able to come up with anything offensively, the Shells regained possession at their 20-yard line in the third quarter.
That drive led to a 66-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore running back Zeb Katzmarek. The kick was no good and the score stood 13-7.
Hillsboro was marching downfield on what ended up being their final drive of the game and was looking dangerous. That was until sophomore defensive back Andruw Ellis picked off a pass with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
With all of their timeouts, all the Shells had to do was take a knee and move on to the second round.
“We get a shot at number one. What else could you ask for,” Roxana head coach Wade DeVries said after the win. “Let’s give it a whirl and see what happens.”
“We played nine weeks to earn a shot at week 10 and we played well enough to earn a shot at week 11,” he added.
The Shells will now lock up with the now 10-0 Prairie Central. They beat Buckley-Loda 57-12 in the first round.
The date and time for the second-round game are still to be announced.