They met No. 2 Wapsie Valley in the Class A state title matchup.
The Blackhawks (10-4) kept it close, but when the clock wound down, they trailed their undefeated opponent by one touchdown.
"We wished for a different outcome, but we told the kids they can walk off the field proud because they played hard; they gave it everything they've got," Hinton co-head coach Steve Diediker said.
Wapsie Valley (14-0) was a quality opponent with a lot of team speed, he said.
Both the Blackhawk and the Warrior defense held the line in the first quarter.
The closest Hinton got to the goal that quarter was on the Wapsie-Valley 34 yard line, and the closest the Warriors got was the Hinton 36.
A few minutes in, the Warriors kept Hinton at their own 4 yard line and forced a punt. Wapsie Valley took over the ball on the Blackhawks' 20 yard line.
A pass interference penalty against Hinton put the ball on their own 10 yard line.
The Warriors' kick was good, making it 7-0, Wapsie Valley.
Wapsie Valley later brought the ball to the Hinton 19 yard line on a 43-yard drive, but Hinton's defense forced a turnover on downs.
Several successful passes from QB Morgan Wenzel powered the 80-yard drive.
On a third down with 10 yards to go, Wenzel found Jake Hasselquist with a 32-yard pass in the end zone.
There were three minutes left in the quarter.
Matthias Gross-Holtick's kick was good, tying up the game at 7-7.
Neither side found the end zone again before halftime.
Hinton's defense held the Warriors' lead rusher, Tyler Odneal, to only 17 rushing yards in the first half. Odneal has more than 2,000 yards of rushing this season
"Our kids did a super job of executing the defense. Once you do that, good things are going to happen. We were really proud there," Diediker said.
After halftime, Odneal finally got a big run in, taking the ball 50 yards for a Warrior TD at 7:54.
Wapsie Valley lead, 14-7.
After the Warriors intercepted a Hinton pass, the Blackhawk defense shut Wapsie-Valley down, forcing a punt.
Hinton took over the ball on their own 14 yard line and started a 12-play, 85-yard drive that took them into the start of the fourth quarter.
The Blackhawks were fueled to the Warriors' 24 yard line on a 38-yard reception by Dalton Becker.
A pass interference penalty on Wapsie Valley brought the Blackhawks within 10 yards of the goal line before the end of the third quarter.
Hinton opened up the last quarter of the game with a fourth down and 1 yard to go.
Wenzel tossed a touchdown pass to senior Jason Vander Kooi, who caught it with 5:26 left in the quarter.
Gross-Holtick's kick was good again to tie the game, 14-14.
Wapsie Valley took possession of the ball but didn't get far. The Hinton defense held them back, forcing the Warriors to turn over the ball on downs.
"We probably kept them to half of the yards they're used to getting and half of the point total too," Diediker said.
The Blackhawks made a 10-play, 46 yard drive, bringing the ball to the Warriors' 10 yard line but were unable to get a first down.
With a fourth down and 6 yards to go, Gross-Holtick's field goal attempt from the 28 yard line went wide.
Wapsie Valley took over the ball on their 20 yard line and made an 80-yard drive to the end zone. The kick was good, giving the Warriors the 21-14 edge with 1:35 left in the game.
The Warriors intercepted a Hinton pass to regain control of the ball, running the clock out to claim the win.
"They were rated the No. 2 team, and you could see why. They are very well coached and have some great players," Diediker said. "It was a fun ball game."
Hinton co-head coach Bruce Held said he left no regrets on the UNI-Dome field.
"They were a very, very tough team," he said. "It was quite a game."
In total offensive yards, the two teams were nearly matched. Hinton had 240 and the Warriors had 289.
Wenzel went 17-for-34 passing, for 174 yards, including two TDs.
Wenzel had 30 rushing yards and Becker had 24.
Becker led in receptions with seven for 122 yards. Hasselquist had three for 45 yards and one TD and Vander Kooi had five for 36 yards and one touchdown.
Logan Jurgensmeier made six punts for 166 yards.
Austin Anfinson had the longest kickoff return for 19 yards.
Defensively, Hasselquist led with seven solo tackles, Mitchell Hoefling had six solo and one tackle assist, Cole Johnston had four solo and two assists and Marcus Turman had four solo and one assist.
Diediker said the team earned its place in the state final.
"Newspapers, especially those a little further from northwest Iowa always said 'unranked Hinton,'" Diediker said. "When it comes down to this point, it doesn't make any difference with rankings. It's just how your kids play."
Held said he is impressed by how the Blackhawks persevered all season long.
"I'm proud of the guys for giving a great effort every day," he said. "This is a group that's been easy to coach."
Spending 15 weeks with this Blackhawk football team has been a blessing, Held said.
"They always say that it's not necessary the destination, but it's the journey that's fun, and that's certainly been true here," he said.
Diediker said Hinton's nine seniors were the backbone of the team
"The season is a picture of what those guys have done all season long," he said. "They play together, they feed off each other, they support each other. They're going to be nine guys that are really tough to replace."
Held agreed losing the seniors will be tough, but he's optimistic about the future.
"Next year is going to take care of itself," Held said. "Traditionally we have really good kids here who answer the call, they work really hard. That's why we're here."
The Blackhawks have a good nucleus coming back, he said.
"We have some fine football players to hand the ball to next year and to throw and to play defense," he said. "It's going to take a lot of hard work again, and we're going to put together what we can and see where that takes us."
Held and Diediker have been Hinton's co-head coaches for 30 years, and they've coached together four years before that as well.
"We talked to the kids about playing in their back yards, dreaming, and we as coaches have always had that same dream," Diediker said. "We've talked to 30 teams about, 'let's play on the carpet, let's get to the dome.' To be finally able to do that and share that together, that was really a dream."
Held said, after his wife, Diediker is his best friend.
"To be able to do this after all these years -- it's been a long journey, but it's been fun," he said. "There isn't a year I've regretted lining up and doing this with him."
Held thanked the Hinton community and school leaders for all their support.
"When ever you do something like this it really does bring your community closer together," he said. "Every once in a while the community does need that. To have every one rally around the football team, and for us to be at the center of that, was pretty darn cool."
Held and Diediker often talk to the Hinton players about building a tradition for others to follow.
"We left a really good legacy," Held said. "It's something for the younger kids to shoot for that go to Hinton in the future."