Clay Archer, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — For the past several seasons, Unioto’s football program has been knocking on the door of its first-ever playoff win.
Saturday, they kicked that door in.
In front of a home crowd, the Shermans handed Hillsboro a 42-14 loss to seal the deal … a game where quarterback Isaac Little accounted for five total touchdowns.
“We had a group of 50 or so guys work hard through all the adversity that we’ve faced, like everyone’s faced this year,” Unioto coach Matt Hoops said. “We’ve continued to believe and it’s gotten us to this point. Let’s face it, two months ago, we didn’t know if we were going to be playing football. But our guys continued to work and here we are. So hats off to our team.”
The Shermans (5-2) started the night’s scoring when Little found Maddox Fox for a three-yard touchdown pass with 6:15 left in the first quarter. Those two hooked up once more with 10:10 left in the second, giving Unioto a 14-0 lead.
“Isaac is just a competitor. He’s a gamer and he’s a great player,” Hoops said. “He’s a guy who you want to have the ball in his hands. He makes good things happen. That’s what he did tonight, especially in the first half.”
Little also made an impact on the defensive end, picking off a pass on Hillsboro’s next possession. That set up Unioto’s next score, a five-yard run from Little, with 9:53 left in the second.
Down 21-0, Hillsboro (1-6) got its first score with 4:33 left in the first half, coming on a four-yard touchdown run from Bryce Parsons that cut the lead to 21-6.
The Indians then closed the gap further after recovering a muffed kickoff. Parsons scored again, this time from 20 yards out, with 1:50 left for a 21-14 score … following a successful two-point try.
But Little would have none of a comeback attempt.
The senior captain scored on a three-yard touchdown run just before the end of the half, giving Unioto a 28-14 lead at the break.
REPLAY UNIOTO’S 42-14 WIN OVER HILLSBORO
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The Shermans added two more second half scores, coming on a 30-yard run from Little and an 84-yard touchdown scamper from Cameron Lohnes, to pound the nail in Hillsboro’s proverbial coffin.
Little ended the night with 117 yards passing and 135 yards on the ground. He totaled five scores and picked off a pass. Maddox Fox had three catches for 80 yards and two scores, and Lohnes added 94 yards rushing and a touchdown on nine carries.
The Shermans now look towards Oct. 17, when they’ll meet with Archbishop McNicholas in a second-round playoff matchup. That game, which will be held at McNicholas, is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We’ll celebrate this tonight, enjoy it tomorrow and then get ready for Cincinnati McNicholas. That’s a good football team,” Hoops said. “We’ll have our hands full.”