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Friday, Apr. 17, 2015

A look back at the Linton-Stockton vs. Sullivan football game

Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2012, at 6:30 PM

Linton-Stockton receiver Grant Stamm (27) gets away from two Sullivan defenders on his way to a touchdown in a 58-26 victory over the Golden Arrows last weekend. Stamm hauled in six passes for 115 yards. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
SULLIVAN -- Normally when Linton-Stockton and Sullivan meet on the gridiron, it is about as electric as a regular-season high school football game can get.

And I don't know if it was me or not, but I did not get that feeling here this past Friday when the Class A No. 3 Miners defeated the host Golden Arrows 58-26. I don't know if it was because of the heat -- temperature at game time was 89 degrees. Actually a couple of participants on both sides said it did not seem like a normal game featuring two long-time rivals facing each other.

I don't know if that was because it was such a sloppy game. Both quarterback Austin Karazsia of Linton-Stockton and Payne Fortner of Sullivan each tossed three interceptions.

They did combine to complete 49 passes, six touchdowns and throw for over 500 yards.

Maybe it was because the game was over three hours in length. Maybe fans were zapped because of the warm temps and high humidity until the sun set.

There were a combined 16 penalties, good for a combined total of 142 negative yards.

At times, the officials were a bit flag happy, justified or not. Maybe both teams just did not execute very well.

But despite the sloppy play, there were smiles on just about everybody's face on the Miner sideline -- with one notable exception, Steve Weber

The Miner head coach was not one-bit happy with the 32-point win. He lambasted his troops about their focus, practice habits and overall performance and readiness.

There was one person at Sportland Field who was impressed with the eight-touchdown performance by Linton-Stockton.

"They are a very good football team," said Golden Arrow boss Trent Olson. "I still think they are a better team than they were last year."

The Miners appeared to be in control throughout the first half as their defense clamped down on the Sullivan running game. They only allowed 4 yards on the ground after the opening quarter.

A nifty 44-yard catch and run between Karazsia and Grant Stamm gave the Miners a 22-6 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the half. After the Blue and Red tried to go for a third straight two-point conversion but failed, the lead stood at 16.

Even though it never became a factor, a Miner supporter later said why didn't they just go for the conventional PAT to go up 17, especially when you have the school's all-time leader in extra point kicks in senior Dyllanne Deischer. A 17-point lead would have meant it was a three-possession game (two TDs and a pair of two-point conversion would only be worth 16 points).

Maybe something like that doesn't mean anything in the regular season, but points management (my phrase) can be crucial in the playoffs.

Just as quickly as you can say kickoff return, Sullivan's Brooks Weszely went down the sideline in front of the Arrow fans for a 86-yard return of a Dane Rupska kickoff. Weszely ran in the two-point conversion as Sullivan closed the gap to 22-14.

Just for a second, the Golden Arrow faithful had a chance to think 'upset' and the Miner fans must have been thinking, 'We've outplayed them and are just ahead by one score.'

The Miners then answered and put together a 72-yard drive to take control.

One of the big plays was a 21-yard completion from Karazsia to Dane Rupska in front of the Sullivan bench.

"To be honest, I don't know if it was a catch or not," said Olson. "But it was called a catch.

"It was a big play, but we really did not get any pressure on Karazsia all night long. Our defensive line got tired."

After a reverse to Stamm ended up in a fumble and a 4-yard loss, the Miners were facing fourth-and-eight from the Arrows 37-yard line.

An AK to Stamm dump off went for 11 yards and a L-S first down at the 26.

An 18-yard scamper by Koye Kaiser gave the Miners first and goal at the 8.

Three plays later and on fourth down in the waning seconds of the first half, Zane Hayden scored the second of his career-best four touchdowns. Deischer's kick made it 29-14 Miners at intermission.

"That touchdown right before the half really hurt and really changed the momentum of the game," said Olson. "As the underdog, you hope to keep it close and stay in the game.

"Up to that point, that's exactly what we had done. That pass to Rupska and the one to Stamm were really big plays. We also had two defenders at the goal line with a chance to make the tackle. If we get him stopped, the half ends or we take over on downs. After that, things got away from us in the second half as their offense continued to make plays, without the turnovers."

Cole Bradbury had eight catches for 68 yards and a TD, tying his previous single-game mark for receptions against North Daviess in 2011.

He now has 96 career catches as he pulls away from the previous mark of 86 by Bryan Slay.

But Slay still has the single-mark Miner record with nine catches against Tecumseh in the 1986 playoffs.

Just a note, the Wood Memorial at Linton-Stockton football game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday, to accommodate the Trojans from Oakland City where they observe Central Time.

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 hargisbj@gmail.com.

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Enough said
B.J. Hargis
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