<CENTER><B>H-BC-E comes from<br> behind to top Edgerton</B></CENTER>

By John Rittenhouse

A young Hills-Beaver Creek-Ellsworth football team won its 2000 opener and gained some character in the process Friday in Edgerton.

After being blanked for three quarters and facing a 6-0 deficit, the Patriots rallied for 12 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes of play to post a 12-6 victory.

As many inexperienced teams do, a jittery Patriot squad turned the ball over three times to hamper its chances of producing offensive points in the early stages of the contest.

When H-BC-E settled down in the fourth quarter, big plays started to fall in favor of the Patriots, allowing them to secure a come-from-behind win.

"I thought we learned a lot as the game went on," said Patriot coach Dan Ellingson. "We definitely played better in the second half than we did in the first half. I was really happy with that."

H-BC-E's fourth-quarter rally came after a missed scoring opportunity in the period.

The Patriots were in a first-and-goal situation inside Edgerton's 10-yard line early in the stanza, but a pair of dropped passes kept them out of the end zone.

When Edgerton punted moments later, H-BC-E mounted a game-tying drive capped by Lyle DeBoer's 32-yard touchdown scamper that knotted the score at six.

DeBoer, who carried the ball 15 times for 84 yards in the contest, came up with another big play to set up the game-winning tally.

After the H-BC-E defense forced Edgerton to punt midway through the fourth quarter, DeBoer returned the kick 31 yards to the Flying Dutchmen 10-yard line.

A few plays later, tailback Chris Reid scored on a four-yard run to give the Patriots their first lead at 12-6.

Thanks to the H-BC-E defense, Edgerton was unable to mount a serious scoring threat after the Patriots took the lead around the 5:00 mark of the fourth quarter.

After an uneventful first quarter, Edgerton took advantage of one of H-BC-E's three fumbles to take a 6-0 lead in the second stanza.

Patriot quarterback David Top dropped back to pass when he was hit hard by an Edgerton defender, jarring the ball loose. Edgerton recovered the fumble on the H-BC-E 20, and Flying Dutchmen running back Eric Elgersma covered the 20 yards on the first play from scrimmage to give the Flying Dutchmen an early second-quarter advantage.

H-BC-E also lost fumbles at the end of a long run and at the end of a long pass reception during the contest, taking some yards away from what was a 241-171 advantage in total yardage at game's end.

"We moved the ball well, but the fumbles hurt us offensively," Ellingson said. "One came after a long run, another came after a long reception, and one set up Edgerton's first score. That's something we'll have to take care of. When we get more experience, it should help us eliminate some of those mistakes."

The Patriots open Southwest Ridge Conference play tomorrow night in Cottonwood. H-BC-E will play Lakeview, a team that lost a 34-12 decision to Westbrook-Walnut Grove Thursday in Westbrook.

"Lakeview is one of the teams we tied for second place with in the conference last season. They should be a much-improved team because they've got a lot of guys coming back. They are a running team that likes power football, running the ball straight at you. When they do pass, they usually like to go for it all. It will be a good test for us. Every game will be a test for a young team like ours," Ellingson said.

Team statistics

H-BC-E: 222 rushing yards, 19 passing yards, 241 total yards, 13 first downs, nine penalties for 50 yards, three turnovers.

Edgerton: 123 rushing yards, 48 passing yards, 171 total yards, 12 first downs, three penalties for 35 yards, one turnover.

Individual statistics

Rushing: Reid 25-138, DeBoer 15-84, Chris Willers 1-0.

Passing: Top 3-9 for 19 yards.

Receiving: Brad Haak 2-15, Willers 1-4.

Defense: Lance Crawford 10 tackles, Darin DeBoer 10 tackles and one interception, Lyle DeBoer nine tackles and three passes knocked down.

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