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Miners, Warriors put on quite a showPosted Tuesday, October 7, 2008, at 8:45 PM
Linton-Stockton defenders Evan Magni (3) and Adam Rose (88) try to run down North Knox back Derek Chambers during a conference football game Oct. 3.
The first half of football between Southwest Seven Conference foes North Knox and host Linton-Stockton last week was what you would expect from two undefeated teams. It was as if they were saying "Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you."
The tit-for-tat opening two quarters was about as good as it gets for high school football, from an offensive point of view. The 21-21 tie at intermission, before the Miners outscored the Warriors 21-0 in the second half to come away with a 42-21 victory, had a lot of interesting notes that I did not have a chance to talk about in my story for Saturday.
On the opening drive, which was set up by a 56-yard punt return by Ryan Bolenbaugh, a personal foul penalty by the Miners negated an 8-yard loss and proved key to the Warriors taking a early 7-0 lead.
Instead of second-and-18 from the Miner 19-yard line, North Knox faced second-and-eight from the Miner 9.
Two plays later, North Knox sophomore Derek Chambers went around left end untouched and Chris Sargent booted the PAT.
Chambers showed his breakaway ability as he broke tackles by Miner defenders Stefan Sparks and Jacob Tibbett on his way to a 50-yard score later in the quarter.
The scary thing for Warrior opponents, as alluded to by Linton-Stockton assistant coach Mark Gennicks, is that Chambers will be around for the next two seasons.
On the second possession, the Miners used a 65-yard pass play from Keith Cunningham to Jordan Tharp as Linton-Stockton went 92 yards after a nifty kickoff by Sargent pinned the Miners inside its 10.
Tharp leads the area with 19 receptions. He also has six, two-point conversion pass receptions, which is probably some sort of record. But I don't think the Elias Sports Bureau could help us find that one out.
Cameron Coleman covered the final 14 yards on the drive on two 7-yard runs, the second finding the end zone.
Coleman finished with three TDs and 161 total yards. His 50-yard catch and run was the key play in the drive that produced the second Miner touchdown, a 1-yard run by Mickey Tosti.
"We have had trouble defending the pass all season," said North Knox coach Shawn McDowell. "They did a very good job of coming up with the big pass play when they needed it."
A third TD by Chambers gave the Warriors a 21-14 lead with two minutes and 47 seconds left in the half.
That 67-yard North Knox drive turned out to be its last highlight of the game. From that point, the Warriors were outscored 28-0 and outgained 295-36.
The Miners used every bit of the remaining 167 seconds to go 74 yards.
Just as in the first drive of the game, a penalty proved key on the final drive of the first half.
A pass interference penalty was whistled on North Knox sophomore Zach Sutphin as he tried to break up a Cunningham pass intended for Tharp.
The extra 10 yards gave the Miners the ball at the Warrior 15. Three plays later, the 9-yard TD pass from Cunningham to Cameron Coleman with zeros on the clock and PAT by Ross Gentry tied the game at intermission.
Cunningham had avoided a potential sack at the hands of linebacker Sam Conrad. The senior QB then found Coleman open on the far sideline at the 2. Coleman avoided a potential tackler and scooted toward paydirt.
"That play was huge," said Linton-Stockton coach Steve Weber. "It gave us all the momentum going into the locker room."
Weber said it was a slight defensive adjustment to shut down the Warriors in the final two quarters.
"We might have given them too much respect," said Weber. "At the half, we just went back to our base defense.
"The kids really responded in the second half."
One surprising aspect of the game to me and probably some others was the amount of offense racked up by both teams, especially in the first half.
The Miners, who are still ranked No. 4 in the Class A poll, had four different players account for six TDs. They racked up 451 yards of total offense against a defense that had allowed 28 points in six games previously.
The 21 points also was a season-high allowed by the Miners, who had given up just 31 points in their first six games.
"With all the athletes that both teams have, I wasn't really surprised at all the offense," said McDowell, whose Warriors dropped to 6-1, 4-1 in the Southwest Seven Conference.
Weber, whose Miners are 7-0, 4-0 in the Southwest Seven, said that he was expecting more of a defensive struggle, but was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
"The conference is so much more competitive this season," he said. "That is something we have been looking forward to.
"Even though we are on top of the conference right now, by no means is it over."
There was one more thing that I found interesting. How many times will you see a high school game where the kickers go 6-for-6 in PATs in a half? I don't think I have ever seen it.
Gentry was 1-for-2 in the second half and Sargent did not attempt any after half-time. Gentry would have had a third attempt but an offside penalty against the Warriors set up a short two-point conversion run by Evan Magni.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at email@example.com.
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