The Hillsboro Indians take their ground game on the road this week as they travel to Gardner Park in Washington Court House to take on the Washington Blue Lions in Frontier Athletic Conference football action.
The Indians (5-1) enter the game after suffering a heart breaking 36-30 defeat at home against the Chillciothe Cavaliers last week.
Hillsboro’s Josh Keets totaled 174 yards rushing agaisnt the Cavaliers, but needed just a few more inches after being stopped just short of a game-tying touchdown.
The Blue Lions (4-2) will also come into the game off of a loss as they fell to the Jackson Ironmen on the road last week by a score of 69-40.
Washington has found success this season mostly through the air as quarterback Gio Thomas and receiver Dillon Steward have formed a connection and accounted for five of the Blue Lions’ 16 touchdowns through the air.
Thomas and Steward are also leading Washington on the ground with five and six rushing touchdowns, respectively.
Washington is averaging 42.6 points per game over the first six weeks of the season and Hillsboro’s defensive front will need to step up in a big way if it plans to keep the Blue Lions in check.
A point of concern for the Indians against the Blue Lions is going to be how Hillsboro plans to defend the pass and if they will be able to stop the combination of Thomas and Steward.
Expect the Indians to stick with what they know offensively against Washington, which means lots of carries for Keets and fellow running backs Deon Burns and Mark Gallimore.
The Indians certainly have an advantage on the offensive line with Lane Cluff and his crew bulldozing defenders to open holes for the running trio.
It is likely that this will be a high-scoring affair between the Indians and Blue Lions and fans that like to see points being scored will likely not leave Washington Court House disappointed.
This game has the possibility of going down to the wire like Hillsboro’s previous game, and it is likely that the team with the ball last will be the team that wins the game.
If Hillsboro can get past the Blue Lions they will sport a 6-1 record and hold a good chance of making the playoffs if they can win out.
A loss for Hillsboro will likely end any hope they have of making the postseason with two losses.
This game will feature offense aplenty and maybe some solid defense, too. If you are an Indian football fan make the trip to Gardner Park and see what Hillsboro has in store this week.
Ryan Applegate is the sports editor at The Times-Gazette.