HILLSBORO - Last week, the Jackson Ironmen scored 27 points in the second half to pull away from a 28-28 tie at halftime to overcome Miami Trace. But on Friday, they were in total control.
Entering the matchup, senior tailback Blake McCoy, who rushed for 242-yards a week ago, ran for 195 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Ironmen to a 28-6 win at Hillsboro.
"This was a great team win for us," said Jackson head coach Andy Hall. "I don't think we have been the biggest team any time we've played, but we pride ourselves on being disciplined and tough in the trenches."
The Ironmen (7-1, 3-0 FAC) led wire-to-wire. On their three offensive touchdown drives, they marched 55, 58 and 84 yards.
As a matter of fact, they set the tone on their opening drive of the game, scoring on their first possession, a 55-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by McCoy. Michael Benson booted the first of his four extra-point tries to give Jackson an early 7-0 lead.
The Ironmen rolled up 289-yards rushing as they dominated on the ground against Hillsboro. Brice Graham was the second leading rusher for Jackson with 56-yards on six attempts, while quarterback Jared Icenhower had nine-yards on two carries and Caleb Storms finished with two carries for four yards.
McCoy now has 1,272 yards through eight games to lead the Ironmen. His 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter put the Ironmen up 14-0. It was his 14th score of the season.
Hillsboro (5-3, 1-2) struggled until late in the second quarter when Joshua Keets put the Indians on the board with an 8-yard scoring run, but the extra-point kick failed leaving them trailing 14-6.
Then the Ironmen's Caleb Haller forced a fumble and linebacker Matt Humphreys returned it 43 yards for a touchdown to take a 21-6 advantage with just 19-seconds remaining until halftime.
"I think the whole key to the game was that play right there," said Hall. "We go up 14-0, things were looking good and then they came back and got back in the game. Then Caleb (Haller) had a strip sack on their quarterback and Matt (Humphreys) picks it up and returns it for a score. That was huge as far as a momentum swing.
"I am really proud of how our defense played tonight. This is the best they've played all year. There were tremendous and we were able to control about everything they tried to do."
The third quarter was scoreless but Jackson added an insurance touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by McCoy to push the score to 28-6 with 9:56 remaining.
After that, the Ironmen were able to salt the game away by running the football.
After its loss to Wheelersburg in week five, the Ironmen have found stability. Jackson has picked up three straight wins in the Frontier Athletic Division and have gained momentum heading into this week's homecoming matchup against Greenfield-McClain.
A win against the Tigers on Friday will set up next week's game against Chillicothe at Alumni Stadium, which will have FAC title and playoff implications.
In regards to playoff rankings, the Indians have been mathematically eliminated in the OHSAA playoff computer rankings in Division 3, Region 11, following the loss to Jackson. The Ironmen, though, climbed to sixth in the region with the victory.