By CHIP CIRILLO
Brandon Hines gets better every week and so does Independence.
Hines completed 17 of 19 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns, leading the unbeaten Eagles to their 27th straight win with a 42-20 victory at home over Hillsboro in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs Friday night.
“We’re extremely proud of how far he’s come in just one year,” Eagles coach Scott Blade said. “Man, he’s exciting because he’s making a lot of things happen.”
Hines also rushed for a TD for the defending state champions, who visit Cane Ridge in a quarterfinal showdown of 12-0 powers next week.
Hines got some help from the Eagles’ defense, which intercepted four passes.
“Oh, my gosh, that kept us on the field,” Hines said. “It’s important for us to give them some rest. They sparked the game. Big plays.”
Hillsboro lineman Ben Hutch suffered a minor neck injury in the fourth quarter after colliding with a teammate and left the field on a gurney as a precaution.
“He was OK,” Burros coach Craig Clayton said. “He was moving and everything when he left. They took him to the hospital.”
Hutch has narrowed his college choices down to Louisville, Penn State and Texas A&M.
Hillsboro quarterback Darius Smith left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter.
The Burros (7-5) imploded with 20 penalties for 165 yards.
“I think we set a record for number of penalties tonight,” Clayton said. “It wasn’t the best officiated game I’ve ever seen, but we were our worst enemy for the game.”
Independence scored on its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead, but two rushing TDs by Hillsboro quarterback Tywan Goodner cut the gap to 21-13 by halftime.
But three straight TDs by Independence gave the Eagles a commanding 42-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“We challenged the seniors at halftime” Blade said. “There was some lackadaisical play. They responded like a team that’s been there, done that.”
Independence ended Hillsboro’s season for the second straight year, including a 28-20 quarterfinal win in 2015.
The loss ended Hillsboro’s five-game win streak. Blade is a former Burros coach.
“(Hines) was a pretty good passer,” Burros defensive end Alex Smith said. “I think he gave us a lot of problems. We just couldn’t get to him fast enough on the defensive line.”