PAULLINA -- Hinton came up one point short in a back-and-forth affair Friday night, falling 28-27 at South O'Brien.
Hinton (1-1) led four times throughout the game, but never led by more than one touchdown. The Blackhawks led 14-7 at halftime, but the Wolverines (2-0) set the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter with a touchdown run in the third quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
Hinton took another lead early in the fourth quarter on a touchdown run by senior quarterback Morgan Wenzel. Junior Austin Sitzmann kicked his third extra point of the night to give Hinton a 21-14 edge.
South O'Brien answered right back with a 50-yard touchdown run by Austin Rohrs straight up the middle. South O'Brien converted the PAT to tie the game for the third time at 21-21.
Hinton moved ahead later in the quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by senior running back Dalton Becker, his second score of the night. The PAT attempt missed wide and the Blackhawks clung to a 27-21 lead.
The Wolverines drove back down the field and made the final touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run by Rohrs with just 45 seconds remaining in the game. The successful extra point kick gave South O'Brien the lead for good.
The Wolverines squibbed the following kickoff and the Blackhawks took over at their own 31-yard line. Hinton went 4-and-out on the drive with a missed opportunity on an incomplete pass on fourth down.
"We had some chances, but so did they," said Hinton co-head coach Steve Diediker. "We had a pretty even ball game. Both teams were pretty evenly matched.
"We had some opportunities to make some plays at some other times, and so did they, but in the end, they came out ahead. It was a good high school football game."
Both teams set the tone for the game in the opening minutes. Hinton senior Jason Vander Kooi took the opening kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown and Sitzmann converted the extra point.
Hinton held onto the lead for less than two minutes when Zach Nieman broke for a 59-yard touchdown run. Nieman ran 24 times for 161 yards. Rohrs ran 11 times for 91 yards and three touchdowns.
"We need to cut down on some of the points there," Diediker said. "With the teams in our district, if we give up 28 points, we're really going to make it tough on ourselves because there are a lot of good teams there, a lot of good defenses there.
"The thing with tonight's game is hopefully we learned some things. They showed us some of our weaknesses. It gives us something to work on."
Junior Cole Johnston made five solo tackles and 11 total. Seniors Vander Kooi and Werner Trierweiler had eight tackles apiece.
Seniors Avery Peirce, Colin Poss and Marcus Turman had six tackles each. Poss recovered the only fumble from South O'Brien. Wenzel made the Hinton defense's only interception.
Wenzel was 10-for-20 passing on offense for 120 yards and two interceptions. He also ran 18 times for 31 yards and a score.
Becker put the Blackhawks ahead 14-7 in the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown run. He finished with nine carries for 23 yards and two touchdowns.
Vander Kooi caught seven passes for 94 yards. Johnson caught one pass for 16 yards. Junior Jake Hasselquist and Becker both caught one pass for six and four yards, respectively.
Hinton's next challenge is a road test against No. 1 West Lyon (2-0). The Wildcats won 14-7 over Central Lyon in the first week of the season before dominating Sioux Center 47-18 on Friday.
"We're going to face a team next week that are a lot like (South O'Brien)," Diediker said. "West Lyon is going to try to run the ball right at you. 'Here we come. Try to stop us.'
"It was a good game in preparation for that, to see here are some areas that we definitely need to shore up in our run defense if we're going to be competitive with the top teams."