Hillsboro's Canaan Griffith is pictured scoring a touchdown while fending off East Clinton defenders Friday night. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Hillsboro's Canaan Griffith is pictured scoring a touchdown while fending off East Clinton defenders Friday night. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
HILLSBORO — A blocked field goal by the East Clinton Astros for a touchdown took away all of the momentum the Hillsboro Indians had built up, and after that play they never recovered, losing in Week 8 at Richards Memorial Field by a 28-7 score.

When the blocked field goal happened, the Indians were attempting to gain a 10-point lead, but instead saw Brandon Zimmerman pick up the blocked field goal and take it 83 yards to the end zone for six points.

Though the Indians did block the PAT attempt by East Clinton, the Tribe had penalties, a personal foul and miscues resulted in 28 unanswered points by the now three-win Astros in Week 8.

Hillsboro (1-6) struck first on the very first drive of the non-conference game, with a 12-play drive that went 80 yards to pay dirt in the first quarter. Starting on their own 20-yard line, it was a run by Travis Ross for two yards, followed by a 4-yard rush by Jayce Middleton that set up a third down play. It was Middleton again with the carry, this time taking it seven yards for the first down.

On first down from their own 33-yard line, the Indians continued to chip away at the East Clinton defense with a 9-yard rush by Middleton, followed by a 3-yard run from Bryce Parsons.

Next, the first down play had Middleton’s rush go for three yards, followed by Parsons carries of three, two and three yards, setting up the Indians at the East Clinton 44-yard line and another first down. The ensuing play was a 3-yard run by Ross, taking the ball to the 41-yard line.

Then came the most exciting Indians play of the game as Canaan Griffith caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Chris Stout, as Griffith caught the ball around the 15-yard line, broke a couple tackles, made a turn and spun into the end zone while fending off a defender with 5:02 left in the first quarter. HHS had a converted PAT kick by Nick Turner for the 7-0 lead.

For the game, unofficially the Indians were led in rushing by Middleton with 16 carries for 57 yards. Parsons totaled 56 yards on 12 carries. Ross finished with 33 yards on six carries. Stout ended the game 6-of-16 for 66 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Indians’ defense made a big play when East Clinton gained possession of the ball. Stout intercepted a pass, as it bounced out of the hands of the East Clinton receiver and into the hands of Stout with 3:19 left in the first quarter.

Four plays later, the Astros regained possession of the ball with an interception by Jared Smith on the 9-yard line of ECHS with 1:40 left in the opening quarter.

Though the Astros didn’t capitalize on the turnover, and the Indians didn’t fare well on their next drive as they were forced to punt, it was the Indians defense that forced a second turnover. The unit recovered a fumble with 7:22 left in the second quarter on the 25-yard line of the Astros.

HHS went to kick a field goal, but it was blocked and returned by Zimmerman in the aforementioned play with 3:24 left in the second, eventually leaving the score at 7-6 still in favor of the Indians.

HHS fumbled on the ensuing drive, with Zimmerman recovering the lost football on the 50-yard line with 2:19 left in the first half. This time, the Astros took advantage of the free gift from the Indians with Jared Smith passing to Branson Smith for a 38-yard touchdown on a slant route with 57.2 seconds left in the second quarter, ECHS failed the 2-point attempt but took the lead at 12-7.

In the second half, Jared Smith ran for a 5-yard touchdown with 10:06 left in the third. The 2-point conversion was good, as Jared Smith passed to Branson Smith for two points and a 20-7 advantage. In that drive, East Clinton’s Landon Runyon caught a 61-yard reception from Smith to the 7-yard line.

The final touchdown of the game for the Astros was a 9-yard run from Glenn Peacock with 10:07 left in the fourth frame. The 2-point conversion was successful, with Jared Smith passing to Jaden Singleton for the final 28-7 lead.

The Indians are next scheduled to host the Clermont Northeastern Rockets on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Richards Memorial Field.

GAME NOTES: With 52.8 seconds left in the third, Hillsboro’s Ethan Grooms intercepted a pass … On third down in the fourth quarter, Parsons had a 23-yard run.