HILLSBORO – With their playoff hopes on the line the Hillsboro Indians traveled to Jackson on Friday to take on the Ironmen in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Frontier Athletic Conference.
The teams were neck and neck for much of the game and needed overtime as the game was tied at 21 after four quarters of play.
In overtime the Indians were able to get the best of the Ironmen as they intercepted a Jackson pass in the end zone to deny Jackson.
Mason Swayne connected with Luke Middleton on Hillsboro’s possession for his second passing touchdown of the game to give the Indians the 27-21 win.
Hillsboro started the game with a big play as Josh Keets took the opening kickoff 80-yards to the Jackson 10, however, the Ironmen held to force a turnover on downs.
Swayne was effective on defense as well as offense and recorded an interception when he stepped in front of the Jackson receiver to take the ball away.
Both teams lived up to the defensive hype surrounding the game as the first quarter came to a close with zeros on the scoreboard for both teams.
Following defensive stands by both teams, and what appeared to be a second by the Ironmen, Hillsboro was given a second chance when Jackson was flagged for 12 men on the field on the Keets punt to give Hillsboro an automatic first down at their own 38.
From there the Indians turned to their stable of running backs as Keets opened the drive with a 17 yard rush and then Mark Gallimore ripped off a 34 yard run to the Jackson 11.
Then, it was Deon Burns with three consecutive rushes that he capped with a two yard touchdown run and Reece Bloomfield converted the extra point to give Hillsboro a 7-0 lead with 5:44 to play in the first half.
Jackson wasted little time answering as they used eight plays to go 80-yards on the drive and capped it with a 21-yard touchdown pass then converted the point after to tie the game at 7 with 2:32 to play.
Over the final 2:32 in the second quarter Swayne threw an interception that gave Jackson the ball on their own 19-yard line and the Ironmen used only three plays to add another touchdown pass and extra point to take a 14-7 lead with one minute to play in the first half.
The second half saw the Hillsboro defense step up on their first defensive drive of the half as Bloomfield sacked the Ironmen quarterback for a seven-yard loss and Logan Hester forced an incomplete pass on third and 10 to force the three and out.
Hillsboro took over deep in their own territory and turned to their ground game once again as they marched down the field chewing up yards and game time until Swayne took off from 21-yards out and ran for the touchdown but Bloomfield was unable to convert the point after and Hillsboro trailed 14-13 with 4:29 to play in the third.
Following another stand by the Indians defense the Hillsboro got the ball on their own 30-yard line as the Jackson punt sailed out of bounds.
Hillsboro capped an 17 play drive that used more than eight minutes of game clock between the third and fourth quarters with a six yard touchdown pass from Swayne to Middleton and the two-point conversion by Swayne gave Hillsboro a 21-14 lead with 4:58 to play.
Jackson was able to score on an eight yard rush and converted the point after to tie the game at 21 with 1:13 to play, then held the Indians in check to force overtime.
Hillsboro will be back in action next Friday, October 19, when they travel to Miami Trace to take on the Panthers in FAC action.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.