Photo by Shawn BarneyAustin Hoover scored eight times Friday night.
Photo by Shawn Barney

Austin Hoover scored eight times Friday night.
SHERIDAN - The Sheridan Blackhawks (7-4) played the Clinton Central Bulldogs (5-5) for the second time this season on Friday night. Their previous matchup resulted in a 42-12 win. It wasn't much different this time around as Sheridan was able to pull out a 60-24 victory.

However, the rain, snow and wind were the x-factors on the gridiron at Bud Wright Stadium.

Neither team could get anything going through the air. Led by senior running back Austin Hoover, the Blackhawks were able to win the first half battle on the ground with a whopping 233 yards and four touchdowns.

Sheridan's head coach, Larry "Bud" Wright, seemed confident enough in his team's running game to carry them throughout the first two quarters, and what would eventually carry on for the remainder of the game.

"We just kept running it and kept running it," Wright said. "We eventually thought we'd come around."

A gutsy performance by Central's sophomore running back Jalen Moore, who finished with 12 carries for 135 yards, kept the Bulldogs in the game late in the second quarter after he broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run.

The head-to-head battle between Moore and Hoover continued as the snow continued to fall.

Hoover broke free for 59 yards at the beginning of the third quarter, and on the next play, he found the end zone for the fifth time on a 3-yard run.

History continued to repeat itself as Jalen Moore caught a pass for 63 yards, which put the Bulldogs in position for a Keenan Moore 2-yard touchdown run to bring Central within two scores.

To everyone's surprise, Central didn't get the ball in Moore's hands too much after that.

They focused on their passing game, which struggled for most of the night, and that later resulted in them having to play catch-up.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Sheridan was able to shut them down.

The game really started to get out of hand at the midway point of the third. A few key plays from Sheridan's defense forced Central to turn the ball over on fourth down, and the Blackhawks were able to capitalize with great field position.

Austin Hoover, with his seventh score of the night, found the endzone on a 2-yard carry to advance their lead to 23 points.

Hoover eventually finished with 56 carries for 457 yards and eight touchdowns.

Coach Wright thinks highly of his star running back.

"I didn't know he had that many touchdowns," Wright said. "He's a heck of a football player and does a nice job."

With one last attempt to put points on the board, Clinton Central's Orr was picked off by freshman linebacker Joe Callahan and returned for six points - the only touchdown Austin Hoover didn't score for Sheridan.

The winningest head coach in IHSAA history, Wright, will have an opportunity to lead his team to their 19th sectional title.

Sheridan will play defending Class A state champion Tri-Central next Friday in the Sectional 44 championship.