Hillsboro will be tested when they host Chillicothe Friday


Ryan Applegate

Ryan Applegate


The Hillsboro Indians varsity football team has steamrolled their way to a 5-0 record on the season while averaging 37.8 points per game and allowing their opponents to average 15.4.

The Indians have relied on their ground game this season and starting quarterback Mason Swayne has completed one pass on three attempts.

Josh Keets, Deon Burns and Mark Gallimore have formed a three-headed monster in the backfield for Hillsboro that gives them the ability to attack defenses to the left, right and up the middle this year.

One concern that I had for the team at the beginning of the year was on the offensive line. But, after losing the majority of their line to graduation in 2018, the Indians have been able to plug in a new group of guys and still have the same level of success running the ball that they enjoyed for much of the 2017 season.

Seniors Lane Cluff and Mike Rose, as well as junior Draven Stodgel, are the leaders on the offensive line and have done a great job blocking in Coach Jack O’Rourke’s system this year.

Defensively, Hillsboro has had its ups and downs this season and have allowed at least 28 points two times. However, the Indians have also shut out the Astros of East Clinton and allowed one score apiece to Goshen and Clermont Northeastern.

If not for a total of 75 penalty yards on one drive against the Hillsboro defense it is likely they would have shutout the Rockets as well.

The Indians will be truly tested for the first time this season on Friday, Sept. 28, when they open Frontier Athletic Conference action against the Chillicothe Cavaliers.

Chillicothe enters the game with a 4-1 overall record and is averaging 22.8 points per game while giving up an average of 17.6 points in their five contests this season.

The Cavaliers’ only loss on the season came against Bishop Hartley High School, which is currently ranked 13th in the AP Division III Ohio High School Football Poll.

Hillsboro, ranked No. 16 in the Division III poll, will be looking to get one back from the Cavaliers who handed them their second loss of the season in 2017 and derailed the Indians’ hopes of a playoff berth.

Expect to see Hillsboro line up and try to run the ball right down the field against the Cavaliers and expect to see a primed and ready defense against Chillicothe on Friday.

Hillsboro has played well this season and looks to continue in that groove against the defending FAC champions.

If Hillsboro can beat the Cavaliers then it may be smooth sailing for the Indians until they face Jackson or Wasington later in the season. A win will also go a long way in determining if Hillsboro makes the playoffs or not.

In the event of a loss, Hillsboro will have a tough, but not impossible, road to the postseason.

Will Hillsboro continue to roll and earn their sixth consecutive win to open the season?

I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling it is going to be fun to watch them try.

Ryan Applegate is the sports editor for The Times-Gazette.

Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.

Ryan Applegate
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