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UPDATED: Hillsboro defeats Cavaliers with OT score by Austin Barrett

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Hillsboro head coach Nathan Horne and members of the Indians team celebrate after defeating Chillicothe in overtime. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

CHILLICOTHE — Hillsboro head coach Nathan Horne said it best on Friday night following the Indians’ 23-17 overtime win against the Chillicothe Cavaliers, and that was … “It’s a great day for football, and it was a good night for Hillsboro football.”

After a strong defensive stand by the Indians in overtime to keep the Cavaliers from scoring — including a special teams stop on fourth down with a field goal block by Jeven Hochstuhl, which kept the Cavs off the scoreboard — the Indians got their opportunity to win the 2023 Frontier Athletic Conference opener in Week 6.

Then that’s exactly what happened for Hillsboro, as they start the FAC schedule at 1-0 and improved to .500 on the season at 3-3, with this being their second straight win. The win was also the first time HHS has defeated the Cavaliers since at least 1999, including the first time since being in the same conference (2013).

Getting the ball 20 yards away from the end zone in OT, the Indians ran the ball five times with Austin Barrett battling his way to a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line. From there, the senior had a 5-yard gain, and he and the offense ended the game with a 5-yard touchdown run as Barrett raced into the end zone, breaking a tackle attempt in the process of the Indians’ third victory.

Before celebrating with his teammates, Barrett took a moment to himself in the corner of the end zone, getting on a knee, then he jumped up and the well-deserved celebration began for Hillsboro.

Unofficially, Barrett rushed for 178 yards in the win.

Hillsboro’s other scoring for the game included taking a 14-point lead, with their first touchdown coming off a 9-yard run by Mason Dumpert with 7:26 left in the second quarter. Wesley Bailey’s PAT was good, leaving HHS in front at 7-0.

That drive began with a 1-yard run by Barrett, then two plays later a 47-yard reception from quarterback Mason Dumpert to Nic Burns — on the third-and-14 — put the Indians on the CHS 27-yard line.

Next was a 16-yard rush by Hochstuhl, which was followed by an 8-yard run from Dumpert.

The HHS quarterback gained a first down on third-and-2 with a 5-yard run, then a 3-yard rush from Barrett put the Indians on the 9-yard line of Chillicothe. Two plays later, the aforementioned TD occurred and the PAT made it a 7-0 score.

The Indians’ lead went to 14-0 as Hochstuhl raced 20 yards to the end zone with 4:29 left in the second quarter on second down. Hochstuhl finished the game with 87 yards, unofficially.

Again, Bailey made the PAT for a 14-0 HHS advantage. The first two plays of the three-play drive saw Barrett has rushes of 21 and 4 yards.

CHS answered with a touchdown run of 14 yards by Juan Miller with 3:07 left in the first half, and the PAT by Decon Crawford left the score at 14-7, with HHS still ahead. Two plays before the touchdown, CHS gained 33 yards on a pass by Miller to Coen Butler.

HHS ended the second quarter with a 40-yard field goal by Bailey on a fourth-and-5 play with 15 seconds left in the first half, pushing the Indians’ halftime lead to 17-7.

The Cavaliers (1-5) had a 27-yard field goal by Crawford with 4:33 left in the third and later tied the game with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter off a 1-yard rush to the end zone by Miller. The PAT by Crawford tied the score at 17-17.

Before the Cavs kicked their field goal, the Indians had a drive that started on their own 5-yard line. The first play of the drive was a 70-yard rush by Barrett, followed with an 18-yard rush from Dumpert, giving HHS a first-and-goal situation on their 7-yard line.

Hillsboro was unable to capitalize on this possession as HHS reached the 11-yard line following a 20-yard run by Hochstuhl, but the drive ended with a turnover on downs.

After Chillicothe kicked their field goal, the Indians punted, and it looked like the HHS defense forced a punt too, but on fourth down CHS had a fake punt and recovered the kick.

Seven plays later, Miller rushed the ball for a touchdown, with the scored tied at 17.

In overtime, Chillicothe was first to get a chance at points with them ultimately losing four yards with Hillsboro’s defense and special teams having the aforementioned blocked field goal by Hochstuhl, as he also picked the ball up and rushed to the end zone.

After five minutes or so of the officials huddling and reading a rules sheet for that situation, it was determined the ball was ruled dead after the block and couldn’t be advanced.

HHS (1-0, 3-3) will return home Friday, Sept. 29 — their last game at Richards Memorial Field was in Week 2 — and will host their homecoming game, facing the Washington Blue Lions (0-1, 3-3) at 7 p.m.

GAME NOTES: Hillsboro’s Logan Elliott had a tackle for loss. … Hillsboro junior Nic Burns had an interception with 9:33 left in the first quarter. … Austin Barrett had a sack for a loss of nine yards in the first quarter. … Ayden Clemons of HHS had a sack for a loss of seven yards in the second quarter. … Clemons earned his second sack of the game for a seven-yard loss in the third quarter. … Barrett had a tackle for loss with 1:27 left in third. … Barrett sacked the quarterback with 59 seconds left in fourth quarter.