EC unable to make early lead stand in 48-7 loss

LEES CREEK – East Clinton football fans were treated to a big play on the first play from scrimmage Friday night.

The Astros lead didn’t last long as Hillsboro put 48 unanswered points on the board in a 48-7 win in a non-conference game at ECHS.

The Astros opened the game on the offensive side of the ball receiving the opening kickoff and returning it to the East Clinton 39. On the very next play Astros quarterback Brendan Jenkins connected with wide receiver Patrick Dotson on a 61-yard touchdown pass. The ensuing extra point by Austin Arellano gave East Clinton an early 7-0 lead.

From there, it was all Indians.

“We came out and hooked up on our first play of the game for a touchdown and had a little momentum,” EC head coach Jeremy Yankey said. “But we still lack mental and physical toughness. They turned around and tied it and we weren’t able to recover. We have to figure a lot of stuff out.”

Hillsboro then put together an 11-play, 67-yard drive capped by a Mark Gallimore touchdown from 5 yards out. The point after was good and it was 7-7.

East Clinton had a promising drive on its next possession but it stalled at the Hillsboro 25. The Indians countered with a 65-yard pass from Mason Swayne to Britton Haines and Hillsboro took the lead for good.

Just as the second quarter got underway Jenkins attempted a short pass that was intercepted by Gallimore and returned 46 yards for another touchdown for the Indians. Following a good point after Hillsboro led 21-7.

After a punt to Haines that was returned to the Hillsboro 40, the Indians needed only one play to increase their lead. Josh Keets took a pitch 60 yards to the house. The ensuing PAT was good by the Indians increasing their lead to 28-7 with just under nine minutes to go in the first half.

The Astros looked like they might be able to muster some offense on the next drive as the first play went for 10 yards and a first down. But, it was not to be and EC was forced to punt.

Swayne then went 70 yards on a keeper to up the score to 35-7. Haines then made it two pick-6s for Hillsboro to close out the first half scoring. The Indians led 42-7.

Hillsboro head coach Jack O’Rourke is looking forward to next week’s game against Williamsburg.

“They are a really well-coached team,” he said. “They are a small school but they have a lot of grit and fight in them. We have to come out and play like we did tonight and play solid football.”

The Indians will host Williamsburg next week in Hillsboro while the Astros will travel to Greenfield to take on the McClain Tigers.

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By Ryan Applegate

Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.