The Miami Trace Panthers began Friday evening celebrating Senior Night prior to the game against Hillsboro.
The Indians spoiled the Panthers’ final home game of the season with a 54-27 win.
The Panthers fall to 5-4 on the season, 2-4 in the SCOL.
Hillsboro raises its record to 3-6 on the year, 2-4 in the SCOL.
“It’s real disappointing,” Miami Trace head coach Steve Bartlett said. “I know the kids are very disappointed, the coaching staff is disappointed. We just have to come back next week and try to win the Court House game.”
“We just came out and played our best ball game tonight,” Hillsboro head coach Jack O’Rourke said. “We finally got it all together. We have everyone healthy. That’s probably it as much as anything; we played our best ball.
“Our defense did a nice job tonight,” O’Rourke said. “We came up with some turnovers. I’m just so tickled right now.”
Miami Trace scored first Friday night on their second possession of the game with a 32-yard field goal from Blake Pittser.
Hillsboro took the lead with 3:14 to play on a 55-yard pass from Hunter Chain to Luke Gallimore. Britton Haines had the extra-point kick for the Indians.
The Panthers responded with a touchdown pass from Skyler McDonald to DeAndre Pettiford covering 24 yards. Pittser’s kick was true, making it 10-7, Panthers. That score came with 1:35 to play in the first quarter.
Still in the first quarter, Gallimore broke free for a 74-yard touchdown run for the Indians. The point-after kick was good, giving Hillsboro a 14-10 lead. At that point there were 52 seconds left in the first quarter.
McDonald connected again with DeAndre Pettiford for a 62-yard touchdown. Pittser’s kick made it 17-14, Miami Trace with 19.3 seconds to play in the first quarter.
The back-and-forth battle continued as Gallimore had a 36-yard touchdown run. The extra-point attempt was good, giving the Indians a 21-17 lead.
Deon Burns scored next for the Indians on a 4-yard run with 7:39 to play in the first half. The extra-point kick was no good.
That put the Indians in front, 27-17.
With 3:50 to play in the half, Pittser converted his second field goal of the game, this one a 25-yarder. It was now Hillsboro 27, Miami Trace 20.
Gallimore, virtually unstoppable on this night, ran the ball in from 14 yards. Haines’ kick gave the Indians a 34-20 lead. That score came with 44.2 seconds to play in the half.
The Panthers struck first in the third quarter, a 13-yard pass from McDonald to Noah Wiseman. Blake Pittser’s kick made it 34-26, Indians with 9:40 to play in the third.
Hillsboro scored on its next possession, a 2-yard run by Burns. The PAT was good, giving the Indians a 41-27 lead with 3:39 to play in the third quarter.
The Panthers got the ball near midfield for their next possession.
Facing a fourth down and 13 situation at the Hillsboro 30, the Panthers went for it, a pass play that came up short of the yardage needed.
Hillsboro had the ball to start the fourth quarter and their ground game continued to be effective.
The Indians went down the field and Gallimore scored again, this time from 27-yards. The kick was no good, giving Hillsboro a 47-27 lead with 7:33 to play in the game.
With a short kickoff, the Panthers had the ball at their own 42 to start their next drive.
On the first play, the Panthers fumbled and the Indians recovered.
The turnover set up a touchdown for Hillsboro, a 12-yard run by Burns. Haines’ kick made it 54-27, Indians.
Miami Trace had another lost fumble on their next possession and from there the Indians ran out the clock.
Hillsboro plays at McClain next week to end the 2016 season.
Miami Trace is at Gardner Park to take on the Blue Lions Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1