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Turnovers, miscues costly for Hillsboro in loss to Williamsburg 

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo -
Members of Hillsboro's defensive line, including (l-r) Jamar Young, Gary Reno, Ian Lawson, Ayden Clemons and Jahari Pitts, are pictured at Williamsburg. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

WILLIAMSBURG — The Hillsboro Indians built an eight-point lead with 7:14 left in the second quarter, as they were playing solid football and keeping the host Williamsburg Wildcats on their heels, even with the Wildcats receiving an onside kick to start the game.

Despite overcoming the early trickery of Williamsburg with HHS holding the lead, that all later changed for the Indians against the Wildcats on their homecoming night. WHS turned up their level of play on both sides of the ball, forcing Hillsboro turnovers and miscues, then taking advantage with points, eventually leading to a 57-27 Hillsboro loss in Week 4.

In the non-conference loss by the Indians, they allowed standout Williamsburg quarterback JJ Miller to throw for eight touchdown passes, as Williamsburg led 34-20 at halftime and outscored the Indians 23-7 in the second half. Miller also had four 2-point conversion passes, as he was a part of 56 of the 57 points scored by the Wildcats in their win at Ken Osborne Field at Abrams Stadium.

According to John Maklem, Miller's eight touchdown passes broke the school record previously held by the late Bill Brewer. The Clermont Sun reported that the previous record of seven touchdown passes was set by Brewer in 1994.

“Too many turnovers and a really good athlete at quarterback for them was the story of the game,” Hillsboro head coach Nathan Horne said. “The quarterback’s a dynamic kid. He keeps his head up as he scrambles and makes you cover for a really long time, and then he throws it right on the money.”

For the Indians, Jeven Hochstuhl had eight carries for 147 yards with three touchdowns.

Austin Barrett scored one rushing touchdown and had over 130 yards rushing (including 75 yards in the first quarter), for his fourth straight game of over 100 yards rushing to start the season.

Williamsburg struck first on the opening kickoff as they recovered the onside kick, and five plays later Williamsburg scored the first points of the game, with Miller finding Alex Ervin for a 1-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with 10:07 left in the opening quarter.

When HHS regained possession of the ball, they did so with 10:07 left in the first quarter on their own 48-yard line. The game-tying drive consisted of a 23-yard run by Barrett and a 19-yard touchdown run by Hochstuhl with 9:58 left in the quarter. The PAT was blocked for a 6-6 score.

After forcing a Williamsburg punt, which included a sack by Ian Lawson for a 7-yard loss, the Indians’ offense took over with 8:13 on the clock and reached the end zone seven plays later.

Hillsboro’s second scoring drive started on their own 26-yard line where Barrett had four straight rushes totaling 23 yards, followed by a 3-yard run by quarterback Mason Dumpert and another five yards on the ground by Barrett.

Hochstuhl scored his second touchdown of the game with a 43-yard rush on third-and-2 for six points with 5:01 on the clock, as he raced around the defense and untouched to the end zone. Wes Bailey kicked the ball through the uprights for the PAT, putting the Indians ahead 13-6.

Williamsburg scored their next touchdown on the ensuing drive as the 80-yard drive ended with a Miller touchdown pass to Austin Elkins for a 46-yard score with 3:49 left in the opening quarter. The 2-point conversion failed for a HHS lead of 13-12.

The Indians committed a turnover on the next drive, and Williamsburg followed with a turnover on downs as the drive saw Hillsboro’s Ayden Clemons have a tackle for loss.

Hillsboro then responded with their third touchdown of the first half, starting the drive on the 50-yard line with 10:22 on the second-quarter clock. The Indians put together a drive that started with a 6-yard burst by Barrett, followed by a 2-yard rush by Dumpert, with 15 yards added on a personal foul called on the host Wildcats.

Next came a 5-yard rush by Barrett, an 8-yard rush by Hochstuhl and two more runs by Barrett that contributed another eight yards to the drive. On third down, Hochstuhl took the ball to the 2-yard line with a 6-yard gain. Next came the points, with Barrett chomping his way on first-and-goal for a 2-yard touchdown with 7:14 left in the first half, putting the Indians ahead 20-12 following Bailey’s PAT.

With the Indians in the driver's seat, holding on to an eight-point lead, the game was far from over, and Williamsburg warmed up and increased their play to a higher level, scoring the next 22 points in the final seven minutes before halftime.

Leaving 5:06 on the clock, Miller found Pierce Ayers for a wide-open 18 yard score on first down, and the duo followed with the 2-point conversion score, tying the game at 20 points each.

A pass deflection that landed in the hands of Williamsburg’s Brody Fisher, with 3:35 left on the second-quarter clock, resulted in six points with 2:05 left in the opening half, as Miller found Ervin for a 9-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point chance failed, but the Wildcats were in the lead at 26-20.

A late turnover on downs by Hillsboro left the Wildcats on their own 45-yard line, and three plays later, two receptions by Elkins (one of 30 yards and a 25-yard touchdown catch) left the Wildcats ahead 34-20, which also included a 2-point conversion pass to Ayers.

Williamsburg’s Miller threw three more touchdown passes in the second half, and the Indians’ final touchdown score was off a rush by Hochstuhl in the fourth quarter.

The loss moves the Indians to 1-3 overall, while the Wildcats improve to 4-0 overall.

Hillsboro will play their third consecutive road game in Week 5 on Friday, Sept. 15 with HHS traveling to Lees Creek to take on the East Clinton Astros at 7 p.m. On Friday, ECHS lost to McClain, 22-6, as the Astros sit at 2-2 overall after four weeks of action.