When the East Clinton defense lines up against Hillsboro Friday night in the third game of the season, it’s not much of a stretch to have some of the players experience deja vú.
Hillsboro wears red just like last week’s opponent, Cedarville.
Hillsboro has a big power back (Deon Burns) just like Cedarville’s Kane Oden who ran for 155 yards and two scores on 15 attempts.
Both teams mascot is an Indian.
Both teams are former league rivals of ECHS – Hillsboro in the South Central Ohio League and Cedarville in the Kenton Trace Conference.
“Hillsboro is very similar to Cedarville but I feel like Hillsboro is bigger and stronger,” EC coach Jeremy Yankey said. “They have several big backs that run the ball very hard. They are big up front on both sides of the ball.”
East Clinton will travel to Highland County this week with kick-off set for 7 p.m. at Richards Memorial Field.
Hillsboro is 2-0 with a pair of wins against SBAAC American Division teams – 30-28 over Western Brown in the opener and 26-7 last week against Goshen.
The Astros (0-2) lost to the Greene Co. Indians 18-14 last week. The game started Friday then was suspended by weather and finished on Saturday.
Yankey said Mason Swayne, the Hillsboro quarterback, is a threat to run the ball on every snap. But with a big guy like Burns in the backfield, Swayne can pick and choose his running opportunities.
“Deon Burns is a big back that packs a punch,” said Yankey. “Burns weighs 245 and is very quick despite his size.”
Hillsboro is coached by former Blanchester head coach Jack O’Rourke.
“We just need to improve upon our physical toughness,” said Yankey. “We need to stop the run and get better running the ball ourselves.”
And while today’s football is more of a passing game in general, be assured teams will continue to run the ball against a defense until it shows the ability to stop the offense.
The EC passing game has been good through two weeks but Yankey laments his squad’s inability to move the ball on the ground.
“We have improved our pass game in the past three weeks,” the EC coach said. “Our pass protection has been good. We have 43 pass attempts without giving up a sack. We must get better in the run game.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports