The Cadets trailed 28-14 midway through the third quarter after Marcus McGill's final touchdown, a 10-yard run.
Hilton got within seven on a DJ Logory TD pass to Nadale Fowlks, then tied the score on a 22 yard Derek Richards touchdown run.
A short punt gave the Cadets the ball back and they moved ahead on a 21-yard touchdown reception by Nick Prince with 56.4 seconds remaining.
Gates Chili moved from its 20 after the kickoff, and was at the Hilton 6 with two seconds remaining, but McGill was stopped short of the goal line. McGill finished with 270 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 32 carries.