Indians slam the door on Cavaliers’ comeback efforts in overtime

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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WOUB) – Herrnstein Field was absolutely rocking on Friday night as the Hillsboro Indians and the Chillicothe Cavaliers duked it out in an overtime thriller, in which the Indians edged the Cavaliers by a score of 23-17. 

The defenses came to play early on in the game. Chillicothe forced a three-and-out right out of the gate, but Hillsboro quickly responded, with Nic Burns picking off a deep throw just three plays later. 

The Indians’ Jeven Hochstuhl gained 12 yards on a carry, putting Hillsboro on Chillicothe’s 25-yard line, but their drive would be brought to a screeching halt, as the Cavaliers stripped the ball away just two plays later. 

Chillicothe showed promise on their next drive as Oscar Morgan rumbled his way through the defense, fighting for every inch, throughout the drive. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, their drive would stall due to an accumulation of penalties which backed them up to face fourth-and-31, where they punted the rock away to their 8-yard line. 

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Hillsboro’s Austin Barrett broke loose for a 43-yard run which gave the Indians the ball on Chillicothe’s 49-yard line. But on the next play, the Cavaliers forced and recovered yet another fumble. 

Chillicothe found some success on their next drive as they marched down the field to the Indians’ 23-yard line, but once again were plagued by penalties. A false start, a holding, and an intentional grounding call backed the Cavaliers all the way back to the Indians’ 45-yard line. On third-and-32, Hillsboro was penalized for a horse collar tackle, which gave Chillicothe a third-and-11. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, they turned the ball over on downs. 

The Indians opened the drive up with a 47-yard bomb from Mason Dumpert to Burns, and continued to drive down the field. Dumpert capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run, putting Hillsboro up 7-0 with 7:26 remaining in the opening half. 

After another Cavalier false start, the Indians’ Ayden Clemons sacked Chillicothe’s quarterback, which left the Cavaliers facing a second-and-22. This loss of yards proved to be insurmountable for Chillicothe as they had to punt the ball away, but the Indians took possession within the Cavaliers’ territory. 

Barrett carried the ball 21 yards on the first play of Hillsboro’s next drive, which set up a 20-yard rushing touchdown for Hochstuhl to extend the Indians’ lead to 14-0 with 4:29 remaining in the half. 

Mamo Willison ran the following kickoff to the Cavaliers’ own 43-yard line, giving Chillicothe amazing field position. 

Juan Miller found his tight end Coen Butler on a drag route, and Butler trucked his way down to the Indians’ 15-yard line, and a few plays later, Miller scrambled his way into the end zone to narrow the deficit to 14-7. 

Chillicothe’s defense came up big on the next drive as they forced a three-and-out, but the punt was muffed, and the Indians recovered the ball on Chillicothe’s 29-yard line. Hillsboro took advantage of this, and Wes Bailey drilled a 41-yard field goal to make the score 17-7 as the teams headed back to the locker room at the half. 

To open the second half, the Indians held on to the ball for a while and drove it all the way to Chillicothe’s 12-yard line, where the drive stalled on downs. 

Chillicothe’s Miller scrambled out of the pocket and took off for a 53-yard carry, which put the Cavaliers in an excellent position. Chillicothe was unable to find the end zone, but they were able to kick a field goal, cutting into the Hillsboro lead. The Indians led 17-10. 

The Chillicothe defense held its own yet again, and made use of their stop. A gutsy fake punt call on fourth-and-5 paid off and the Cavaliers inched the ball down the field, where Miller scored his second touchdown and tied the game up 17-17 with ten minutes remaining in regulation. 

Both defenses held their own late in the contest, and the game went into overtime. 

Chillicothe got the ball to start the extra period, and after another solid outing from Hillsboro’s defense, the Cavaliers were left with no option but to attempt a field goal. The Indians blocked it and ran it back for a touchdown, but after some debate from the officials, it was ruled that the touchdown would not stand. 

This call ultimately would not matter though, as Bennett walked off the game with a 5-yard rushing touchdown. 

The Indians’ win tonight was their first FAC victory against an opponent that was not the McClain Tigers. Hillsboro improved to a 3-3 overall record, and 1-0 in the FAC. 

Chillicothe fell to 1-5, and begin conference play 0-1.