The Hillsboro Indians hosted the Western Brown Broncos on Friday night and came away with a 55 – 34. The win marks the fourth win in a row for the Indians dating back to last season.
The Indians were led offensively by debuting junior quarterback Mason Swayne who recorded a rushing and passing touchdown in the first half. Swayne also added another rushing touchdown half way through the fourth quarter to seal the victory for Hillsboro.
The Indians offensive and defensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage for most the game. The offensive line continuously opened gaps in the defense for the stable of Indians running backs to exploit.
The defensive line, led by senior R.J. Swackhamer, was physical at the point of attack and were able to overpower the opposition and get pressure on the quarterback. The secondary played a good game for the Indians as well making timely tackles to prevent first downs and force punts of turnovers on downs for the Broncos offense.
The Indians got off to a hot start as the opening kickoff was returned more than 80 yards for a touchdown by senior Mason Lewis.
Hillsboro followed up with an onside kick that surprised the Broncos return unit and was recovered by Indians junior Reece Bloomfield to give possession right back to the home team. The ensuing drive saw junior Josh Keets lose a fumble near the Indians 20-yard line.
The Broncos were unable to capitalize on the Indians mistake resulting in a punt to give the Indians their third possession of the night.
Hillsboro wasted little time capitalizing as Keets redeemed himself from the fumble on the previous drive when he got the edge and rumbled 24 yards to the house giving the Indians a 14 – 0 lead to start the game.
The Broncos got on the board midway through the first quarter when they connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass to cut into the Indians 14 point lead.
The Indians got off to a fast start in the second quarter as well with junior Deon Burns scoring from two yards out, at the 10:58 mark, to put Hillsboro up 21 – 7.
The point of no return for the Broncos came with 4:07 left in the second quarter when the Indians elected to go for it on fourth down. Hillsboro got the fourth down conversion to set up first and goal. The Indians had to hold their breath as Burns was injured on the ensuing play and remained on the field for several minutes as athletic trainers tended to him. Burns would not return to the game.
Despite the loss of their number one full back the Indians continued to execute their game plan as Swayne, after two penalties pushed them outside the 20-yard line, kept the ball himself and scampered into the end zone for a 22-yard score putting Hillsboro up 28 – 7 with 2:58 to go in the half.
The Indians weren’t finished yet. After a brilliant defensive stand by the boys wearing red, and two sacks by Keets, the Indians forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back before the half.
Head coach Jack O’Rourke called timeout with :45 to go and called the only passing play of the night for the Indians. Swayne and the offense executed the play to perfection resulting in senior Britton Haines coming open near the sideline and catching the pass from Swayne before turning and running into the end zone for a 24-yard receiving touchdown. The score put the Indians up 35 – 7 heading into half time.
Despite a tremendous effort by the Broncos in the second half that saw them put up 27 points the game was never in doubt as the Indians continued to control the pace of the game and had an answer for everything Western Brown threw their way.
O’Rourke said after the game, “The team did a really great job executing the game plan for us tonight. The offensive line really stepped up and played well. At half time, we told the boys that it didn’t matter how much Western Brown scored in the second half as long as we kept scoring we were going to win.”
Regarding the outlook of the team going forward this season O’Rourke said, “We have a lot of work in front of us.”
The Indians will be in action again on Friday September 1 when they host the Goshen Warriors.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.