Brandon Zimmerman returned a blocked field goal 82 yards Friday night to propel East Clinton to a 28-7 win over Hillsboro at Richards Memorial Field.
The big play came in the second quarter as Hillsboro, already up 7-0, was looking to make it 10-0. But the blocked kick resulted in a loose ball and Zimmerman scooped it up and went the distance with 3:24 to play in the first half.
Up to that point, the East Clinton offense had turned the ball over twice and failed to produce points.
“It felt early on like things were not going to go our way. Hillsboro had a good game plan and were able to hold the ball for most of the first half,” East Clinton coach Steven Olds said. “Even after Brandon’s block and score, we still had to overcome a couple adverse situations to secure the win. But you’re right, for the most part, we got some breaks that we definitely would not have gotten early in the year.”
The return sparked East Clinton. On the next Hillsboro drive, Zimmerman recovered a fumble near midfield. With 57 seconds left in the half, Branson Smith hauled in a long pass from Jared Smith for a 37-yard touchdown. Though the two-point conversion failed, East Clinton led 12-7 at halftime.
“It certainly changed the momentum of the game,” Olds said of the blocked punt. “Up to that point, we had run six plays offensively and Hillsboro was about to go up 10-0 right before the half. After the block and return, we go from down 7-0 to up 12-7 in a span of three minutes leading up to halftime.”
The Astros scored once in the third (Jared Smith 10-yard run) and once in the fourth (Glenn Peacock 9-yard run) to close out the win. The drive resulting in Smith’s scoring run was highlighted by a 61-yard pass play from Smith to Landon Runyon.
Hillsboro fell to 1-7 with one game left to play this Friday when the Indians host Clermont Northeastern at 7 p.m..
The win put East Clinton at 3-5 on the year. The McClain Tigers are scheduled to visit Lees Creek at 7 p.m. Friday for a Week 9 game.
East Clinton 28, Hillsboro 7
H-Canaan Griffithh 41 yard pass from Chris Stout (Nick Turner PAT) 5:02
EC-Brandon Zimmerman 82 yard blocked field goal return (PAT failed) 3:24
EC-Branson Smith 37 yard pass from Jared Smith (2 pt failed) 57.2
EC-Jared Smith 10 yard run (Jared Smith pass to Branson Smith) 10:06
EC-Glenn Peacock 9 yard run (Jared Smith to Jaden Singleton) 10:07