A beautiful Friday night in Clermont County saw the Hillsboro Indians roll into town to take on the Clermont Northeastern (CNE) Rockets.
The opening drive of the game belonged to the Rockets. However, they were unable to capitalize and went four and out to give the Indians their first possession of the game.
Hillsboro came out of the gate with a steady dose of the run game as expected. But, the Indians were not able to move the ball as they were flagged twice for holding before an incomplete pass by Mason Swayne on third down. A fourth down punt that went out of bounds at the 25-yard line gave CNE the ball back on a short field.
The first play on the ensuing Rockets drive resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Hillsboro’s Devon Gallimore to give the Indians their second possession of the game.
Hillsboro got the ball back on the their own 25. The offense came onto the field and promptly handed the ball to Josh Keets who rumbled for 25 yards to midfield for a first down. Four plays later, following a false start by the Indians, Keets got the handoff again running for 23 yards and another first down.
On second and ten at the Rockets 26 Keets received the ball again taking into the red zone to the CNE 9-yard line for first down and goal. Fullback Deon Burns took over the run game for the Indians and promptly rumbled for eight yards to the 1-yard line. The next play saw Burns get the handoff and power his way into the end zone. The ensuing point after kick was good by Britton Haines gave the Indians a 7 – 0 lead.
The next Rockets possession was a four and out forced by Hillsboro as Max Conover hit the CNE runner in the back field and brought him down for a five-yard loss.
Haines received the punt at the Hillsboro 45 and returned it for 10 yards to the CNE 45 giving the Indians a short field. However, the Indians were unable to capitalize on a drive opening 24-yard pass play to Haines that put the visitors inside the Rockets 25. On the next play the Indians fumbled the ball and it was recovered by CNE for their first turnover of the game.
A promising 10 play drive by the Rockets went for naught as CNE went for it on fourth and six and tossed an incomplete pass that was broken up by Mark Gallimore.
Hillsboro took over at the CNE 43-yard line and went down the field in eight plays. After four straight run to open the drive the Indians decided to change it up with a pass from Swayne at the Rockets 45 completed to Haines who streaked down the sideline to the 5-yard line resulting in first and goal. The next play was a run up the middle by Burns for five-yards and his second touchdown of the game. The extra point split the uprights to give Hillsboro a 14 – 0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Indians opted for an onside kick that was recovered by the kicker, Keets, to give Hillsboro the ball back at the 50-yard line. A 10-play drive by the Indians ended with a four yard end around by Haines for the third Hillsboro touchdown of the game. A two-point conversion provided the Indians with a 22 – 0 cushion.
The Indians ended the half with an interception by Haines that was returned deep into CNE territory as the clock expired.
The second half saw the Indians add two more touchdowns, an extra point and a second two-point conversion to get to their final total of 37 points. The Rockets were able to score a touchdown in the second half but were unsuccessful on the two-point conversion to provide the final score of 37 – 6 in favor of the Indians.
The game was filled with penalties against the Indians that led Hillsboro head coach Jack O’Rourke to say, “There were a lot of penalties tonight. We are going to look at the film and try to get that taken care of.”
The Indians will be in action next week when they travel to Chillicothe to take on the Cavaliers in their Frontier Athletic Conference opener.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.