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Karazsia hoping for more changes to Miner football schedulePosted Wednesday, December 12, 2012, at 3:49 PM
The worst kept secret in the history of Linton-Stockton football is finally a done deal.
The Class A Miners are no longer a member of the Southwest Seven Conference.
Miner athletic director Charlie Karazsia confirmed this and a few other dominoes to fall by telephone after 9 p.m. Tuesday.
The first move for the Miners as an independent was to drop Union from its schedule in week eight in 2013.
In its place, the Miners have added traditional Class A powerhouse Sheridan to replace the Bulldogs.
"We have officially signed a two-year contract with Sheridan,"
Karazsia told the Greene County Daily World. "We will go up there next year and then they will come down here in 2014. We will play them on a Saturday night.
"We hope to sign them to another two-year deal."
Karazsia hinted there could be other changes to the schedule, but that is all for now.
He also said there were plans in the works to change the 2012
schedule, but they fell through.
"We were going to add Vincennes Lincoln in week one," said Karazsia. "We thought it was a done deal.
"The powers that be down there said they did not want to play a 1A football team. What they meant was they didn't want to get beat by a 1A team."
Karazsia added that the Eastern Greene game would have been moved from week one to week eight as part of the Lincoln deal.
"There are teams in the conference that we still like to play," said Karazsia, a former coach who is third on the all-time wins list at Linton-Stockton. "We want to continue to play North Central, North Knox, North Daviess and Eastern Greene.
"But to be honest, there were teams on our schedule like Union where it did us no good at all. It was really a waste of our time."
The last time the Bulldogs defeated the Miners was during the Richard Nixon administration. There was only one game I remember being remotely close in recent years and that was when the two schools met in a driving rainstorm at Roy Williams Field.
This will actually be a good move for the Bulldogs, providing they can plug in somebody in week eight. Maybe Southside Home School, a football club based in Indianapolis, could be added to the Union schedule. Eastern Greene added them to its scheduled two years ago. I am sure the Crimson Knights would like to add another Class A team as they try to make the move to a full-time varsity schedule.
The one thing I can say for certain is that there will be fewer hurt feelings when the Miners and Bulldogs don't play.
Union and Sullivan stopped playing years ago and under these circumstances, it makes more sense than not. The only thing close about the two football teams is their geographic proximity.
But it is much harder to find teams to play in football because they have to be slotted into a specific week, unlike other sports when games can be added almost anytime.
Also the Miners will be part of the Western Indiana Conference day in Lucas Oil Stadium in September when their game in week four with West Vigo, a member of the WIC, will be played in Indianapolis.
Kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 14 is set for 6:30 p.m.
Obviously details will be announced later next year.
"We had such great fan support when we went to Lucas Oil last year that it just seemed natural to want to try and go again," said Karazsia. "Because of that, we really wanted to give our players, fans and coaches another opportunity to play up there.
"We are happy to have this opportunity."
Karazsia said they are trying to tweak their schedule, but not an opponent, but the location.
"We are hoping to entice North Central to come here for next year's game in week nine," Karazsia said of the final game of the regular season. "We only have three home games next year and would like to play the North Central game at home.
"We will give them the gate if they will come here. We will let them wear their home uniforms, if they want. Hopefully we can get that done so we can balance out our schedule."
There are other repercussions about the schedule as is.
"With only three home games next year, our homecoming game would have to be on Sept. 27, our last home game," he said. "That would mean we would probably have to have our senior night on the first game of the year.
"We are hoping to avoid having to do it that way."
Karazsia said life as an independent will give them more choices down the road.
"We would love to add Lincoln or Washington, which would be a good game for us," said Karazsia. "But those schools play seven conference games in the Big Eight and might not have room on their schedule to play us.
"We used to play teams like Indian Creek and Clinton Prairie. There are a lot of schools that we could eventually add to our schedule now that we are not locked into a conference."
The Miners are coming off of back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, winning the SW 7, and the sectional and regional both years. They finished 13-1 each season, losing to Indianapolis Scecina both years at the semistate.
I asked Karazsia if playing a more competitive schedule would have helped the Miners win what has turned into an elusive semistate championship (winless in seven semistate appearances).
"I don't think our schedule really hurt us this year because they played so well against Scecina and should have won the semistate and went to the state," said Karazsia. "Last year we were 13-1 and had 19 starters back from that team this year.
"We beat a couple of the top teams in the WIC in Sullivan and West Vigo, and beat both of them by about 40 points. Although our schedule was not as strong as it hopefully will be in the future, I still don't think it hurt us in the end."
With a different schedule, maybe the Miners can finally get over that semistate jinx that has haunted them since Karazsia led the Miners to their first regional title in 1986, before losing the next week to eventual state champ South Putnam 14-6 at home.
But no matter what happens, Miner fans have to believe this is a step in the right direction. Winning is always the end goal, but having an undefeated regular season and winning a conference championship every year doesn't always coincide with state championship aspirations.
Hopefully this will help, but only time will tell.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.
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