Tate Erkenbrecher, Contributor
HILLSBORO — Mirroring the near-hour delay that Mother Nature made Hillsboro sit through on Friday, the Indians’s offense came out of their locker room like a bolt of lightning on Friday.
And after building a 20-point lead, the team’s defense provided the thunder in the second half to hold off a motivated Goshen team to win a 20-13 final.
After the game entered a lightning delay with 6:29 left in the first quarter, the Indians managed to put together a lengthy drive. Led by senior quarterback Chris Stout and sophomore Austin Barnett, Hillsboro marched to the goal line just before the end of the quarter — thanks to a 20-yard keeper via Stout and an 11-yard catch via Barnett on a 4th & 9 play.
Those two plays helped the Indians (1-1) put their first dent in the scoreboard with 11:56 remaining in the second when senior Derek Whitt logged a four-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.
It looked to be the Tribe’s quarter to take complete control of the game as the defense forced a turnover two drives later, coming in the form of a fumble recovery from Gary Reno.
Stout then once again made his presence known, leading his team on a five-play, 75-yard drive before scoring on a 42-yard rushing touchdown with 7:12 left to make it a 14-0 tally.
On the first play of Goshen’s ensuing drive, Hillsboro senior Canaan Griffith caused a fumble before Reno recovered. That put the football at Goshen’s 23-yard line, setting the stage for the eventual game-winning score.
On the next play from scrimmage, the Indians rewarded Griffith with a carry and he returned the favor with a 23-yard touchdown run to make it a 20-0 ballgame — the eventual halftime score.
There seemed to be a change of pace, however, in the second half as Goshen made the necessary adjustments to mount a comeback attempt.
The Warriors got their first score of the game with 3:38 left in the third on a 27-yard touchdown run from Corey Watkins, cutting the lead to 20-7 at the end of the third.
Goshen scored its final touchdown of the contest 8:11 remaining when Andrew Morris pummeled his way into the end zone from five yards out, making it 20-13 — a missed PAT.
But after making it a one-score game, Goshen couldn’t find the end zone on its last possession.
Hillsboro made defensive stops on third and fourth down plays late in the game to seal the win.
Statistically, Stout passed for 57 yards and rushed for an additional 91. Barnett finished with 10 carries for 60 yards while the Indians, as a team, totaled 252 total offensive yards.
The Indians will be back in action next week, traveling to East Clinton.