Weather made it a long night for the Hillsboro Indians (1-2) and their fans Saturday night but Hillsboro was able to come up with a total of 367 yards and beat Clermont Northeastern (0-3) with a final score of 42-6.
The game Saturday night was set to start at an earlier time of 7 p.m. but due to weather, kickoff was delayed one hour. As the game started at 8, Hillsboro wasted no time getting their first score of the night. The drive started with a big 13 yard run from Luke Gallimore. In the drive, the Indians had 10 plays and all but one of them ended up with positive gains. The Indians also converted twice on fourth down, the second one being the most important. After a no gain run from Hunter Chain that brought up fourth down, Chain passed on fourth down and found Sajoun Jones for a five yard touchdown catch and the Indians were up 7-0 with 6:01 to go in the first quarter.
The Indians forced CNE to punt on their next drive after yielding very few yards, but were forced to punt on their next drive as well. Huter Chain, also punting for the Hillsboro team, sent a ball down field, which took a Indians’ bounce and ended up at the 32 yard line for a 49 yard punt. Facing a long field, CNE fumbled the ball on a running play and Hillsboro recovered setting up their next score.
It didn’t take long for the Indians to score again after recovering the fumble. Deon Burns took the first hand-off and ran for a gain of three yards, followed by Luke Gallimore for six. Burns pushed the forward six more yards to give the Indians a first down. On the first down play from their own 26 yard line, the hand-off went to Josh Keets who took the ball the rest of the 69 yards needed all the way to endzone to make it 14-0 in favor of Hillsboro.
At this point, all the momentum was on the side of Hillsboro which made it easy for their defense to come in and force CNE into a four-and-out and a punt.
Hillsboro’s next drive started from their own 47 yard line with under five minutes to go. The Indians stuck to their punishing ground game and chipped away yards. A pass to Burns for 16 yards during the drive got the Indians to the CNE 22 and Gallimore and Chain ran the next two times to pick up a total of 18 yards to get the ball down to the four yard line. An interception scare on the next play was called an incomplete pass because of juggling and the Keets looked to have scored again on a run that was called back because of holding. Chain was able to run back up close to the original four yard line but time was running out on the Indians before the halftime buzzer. Hillsboro quickly lined up and got the snap off before the clock hit zero. Chain found Britton Haines in the endzone for the touchdown catch and after the PAT, the Indians went into the half up 21-0.
After the half, CNE was able to get their first and only touchdown but failed to convert a two-point conversion making the score 21-6 with 4:28 to go in the third.
Hillsboro took no time answering back, however. The Indians went for a deep pass to Sajoun Jones but it fell incomplete. But Hillsboro, seeing how badly Jones had beat his defender, went right back to the same play, this time connecting for a wide-open 55 yard pass for a touchdown and making the score 27-6.
The Indians were able to score twice more before the game’s end on a 23 yard run by Brian Smith and two-yard run by Devon Gallimore. On the last touchdown of the game, the Indians added a two-point conversion of their own on a run by Mason Lewis bringing the final score to 42-6 in favor of Hillsboro.
“We’re getting better as a team,” said Indians’ Head Coach Jack O’Rourke after the win. “Our goal is to get better each week and we’ve been doing that. It was important tonight to come out and get up on them early from a confidence standpoint, which we did.”
Hillsboro will open South Central Ohio League play next week when they travel to Washington.
“Courthouse is a very talented team,” said O’Rourke. “The have a good quarterback, some good receivers and running backs. They are also running a double platoon on us so they have 22 guys to our 11-13. But this season, we’ve done a great job of not turning the ball over and if we continue to do that next week, I think we have a chance to win.”
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.