Hillsboro blasts Beech to clinch playoff spot

Hillsboro blasts Beech to clinch playoff spot

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Hillsboro blasts Beech to clinch playoff spot

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Hillsboro definitely didn’t look like a team fighting for a playoff spot on Friday night.

Hillsboro's Jeremiah Edwards (22) receives a pass for a touchdown past Beech's Jahmall Robinson (5) during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro’s Jeremiah Edwards (22) receives a pass for a touchdown past Beech’s Jahmall Robinson (5) during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

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The host Burros, battling for their postseason lives for a fourth straight week, blasted Beech 35-12 in a Region 6-5A showdown to secure not only a fifth consecutive playoff berth under coach Craig Clayton but also home-field advantage for their Nov. 4 opening-round contest.

“That might be the best 5-4 team I’ve ever seen,” said Beech coach Anthony Crabtree, whose Buccaneers claimed their only lead of the game on a early first-quarter field goal. “They beat us. Regardless of the mistakes we made, they just took it to us and they beat us.”

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Hillsboro (6-4, 5-2 in 6-5A), winners of four in a row, reeled off 21 unanswered points to close the first half, and the Burros proceeded to pound on the visiting Buccaneers in the final two quarters.

“We had a good game plan and we played as team,” said Hillsboro quarterback Antywuan Goodner, who tossed a pair of first-half touchdowns to Jeremiah Edwards and JaVonta Payton. “We came out here 100 percent all four quarters. We just fought all the way through, me and my team.”

Goodner completed 6 of 10 passes for 194 yards, while fellow Burro quarterback Darius Smith tallied a team-leading 89 yards rushing with scores through the air and on the ground.

“I love them two,” Payton said of Goodner and Smith. “I have a good bond with my quarterbacks on and off the field, and they really came through tonight. I’m proud of them.”

Hillsboro’s defense also got in on the action Friday.

The Buccaneers (7-3, 5-2), third-place finishers in Region 6-5A, fumbled three times, the third of which was picked up by Hillsboro’s Barry Johnson and returned 15 yards for a late third-quarter score.

“We’ve been in the playoffs for four weeks,” Clayton said. “We had to win out to get to this position. This is what playoff football is all about. Do the right thing, get after it and play every down.”

Reach Michael Murphy at 615-269-8262 and on Twitter @Murph_TNsports

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Hillsboro's Darius Smith (15) dives in to score a touchdown against Beech during the second half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro’s Darius Smith (15) dives in to score a touchdown against Beech during the second half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro's Matthew Jackson (12) celebrates his touchdown against Beech during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro’s Matthew Jackson (12) celebrates his touchdown against Beech during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro's Darius Smith (15) advances against Beech during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro’s Darius Smith (15) advances against Beech during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Beech's Nelson Smith (22) fumbles on a hit from Hillsboro's Joseph Honeysucker (4) during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Beech’s Nelson Smith (22) fumbles on a hit from Hillsboro’s Joseph Honeysucker (4) during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro's quarterback Antywuan Goodner (10) passes against Beech during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Hillsboro’s quarterback Antywuan Goodner (10) passes against Beech during the first half at Hillsboro High School, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

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