High School Football Preview: Week 6 starts FAC play for Hillsboro and McClain
McClain's Max Eikenberry goes up high for a catch in a game this season. (HCP Photo/Jim Jones)
After five weeks of non-conference battles, the time has arrived for the Hillsboro Indians and McClain Tigers to begin their Frontier Athletic Conference schedule as the ’23 schedule enters the final five weeks of the regular season.
In the five non-conference games played, McClain went 4-1 with their lone loss at Paint Valley, but they’ve had wins against Adena, Northwest, East Clinton and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
Hillsboro has a 2-3 overall record, as they’ve defeated Goshen and East Clinton, and suffered losses to Western Brown, Portsmouth West and Williamsburg.
Now it is time for the two Highland County teams to battle the likes of Miami Trace, Washington, Jackson and Chillicothe in FAC plays, starting in Week 6, to see who will be crowned champions of the conference in ’23.
Let’s take a look at the games this Friday, Sept. 22.
Hillsboro Indians (2-3) at Chillicothe Cavaliers (1-4)
The Cavaliers enter Week 6 — which is their homecoming game — coming off their first win of the season, while also battling injuries, as they earned a 17-14 victory against the Logan Chieftains at CHS.
In that Week 5 game, the Cavs saw quarterback Juan Miller go 13-of-26 passing for 122 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Miller also led CHS with 16 rushes for 49 yards, averaging 3.1 yards per carry.
Also for CHS, Shawn Smith last Friday rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries (he also caught five passes for 52 yards), and Tyler Speakman had four carries for 31 yards and a rushing touchdown. Coen Butler had a touchdown reception for the Cavs, totaling three receptions for 37 yards.
This season, the Cavaliers have scored 42 points while allowing 138, as their schedule hasn’t been easy with their first four games being against St. Charles, London, Westerville North and Harvest Prep. Those four teams have a combined overall record of 17-2, with London and WNHS being 5-0 each.
This is Hillsboro’s fourth consecutive away game, as they’ve had just two home games this season, where they were 1-1 in the first two weeks of the season at Richards Memorial Field.
For the Indians, sophomore Jeven Hochstuhl is coming off an impressive game where he totaled 11 carries for 133 yards with one rushing score, while also having a 95-yard interception for a touchdown in Hillsboro’s 32-12 win at East Clinton.
Last Friday saw senior Austin Barrett rush for 194 yards on 28 carries, while collecting two touchdowns along the way in the win over ECHS. Barrett has reached the 100-plus rushing yard mark in each of the five games played this season.
Unofficially in five games, Barrett has 823 yards rushing with eight touchdowns. Hochstuhl has nearly 600 yards rushing (unofficially, 574 yards) with nine rushing touchdowns, plus he’s caught four touchdowns and has one interception return for a touchdown this season.
Last season, the Cavaliers defeated Hillsboro 41-27, as the Cavaliers have won the past 10 games against the Indians dating back to the 2013 season.
Hillsboro and Chillicothe are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.
McClain Tigers (4-1) vs. Miami Trace Panthers (3-2)
It is homecoming for the McClain Tigers, and with how they’ve played through the first five games of 2023, Friday night should be a competitive battle between the Tigers and the Miami Trace Panthers at McClain Field.
Miami Trace is 3-2 in their non-conference schedule, where last Friday in Week 5 they defeated the Western Brown Broncos, 63-31. That was their second straight win of the ’23 season, as in Week 4 (Sept. 8) the Panthers won against Bethel-Tate by a 34-20 score.
The Panthers started this season with a 27-26 win against Waverly, then in Weeks 2 and 3 lost to Wilmington (24-21) and Logan Elm (41-20).
MTHS last Friday saw Julian Baker score four touchdowns, while Asher LeBeau had three touchdowns for the Panthers.
In their two-point win, the Tigers — who defeated Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 27-25 last Friday — saw quarterback Drake Stapleton have his best game of the season thus far, as the senior quarterback was 11-of-16 for 91 yards passing and he rushed for 106 yards, scoring three touchdowns.
Potts had another strong game for McClain in Week 5, totaling 161 yards with one rushing touchdown. McClain’s receiving leader last Friday was Max Eikenberry with seven receptions for 74 yards.
In five games, the Tigers have 119 points scored, and they’ve allowed 96 points in their four wins and one loss in 2023. Miami Trace has scored 165 points, and they have allowed 142 points in their first five games.
Kickoff at McClain Field in Greenfield is scheduled for 7 p.m., as the Tigers will celebrate homecoming.