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Miners left out of title chase...againPosted Monday, October 11, 2010, at 5:58 PM
For the second year in a row -- and for the second time in Southwest Seven Conference history -- the Linton-Stockton Miners won't capture the conference title.
After running the table in the first four years of the conference's existence, the Miners have now been knocked off as the king of the hill.
The closest to that happening before was in 2006 when a controversial game lost to a rain storm meant Linton-Stockton and North Daviess were unable to play and it took a change to the conference bylaws to determine that the Miners and North Central Thunderbirds would share the conference crown.
Linton-Stockton finished that year with a 5-0 mark while the Thunderbirds went 5-1 but since the title was determined by the total number of wins in the conference, they shared the crown.
Thus, the Miners were still the dominant team in the league and carried on an amazing run winning their first 25 conference games before losing their next two outings, and thus losing their grip on the crown.
This year's crown has already been wrapped up by the North Daviess Cougars, meaning they are now the two-time defending champions and just the third team to ever win or share the title.
"My hat's off to them," Linton-Stockton coach Steve Weber said. "They have a great team and they handed it to us."
The Miners secured no worse than a tie for second in the SW7 with their 56-8 win at Union (Dugger) Friday night and can wrap up the runner-up spot with a win at home against North Central this week.
While the thought of not being a conference champion for the last two seasons has brought less than a smile to the face of the players and fans, for Weber it's been just another part of football.
While he readily admits it's nice to win championships the coach also says that it's good for the conference.
"It makes the conference better," he said. "Of course I want to win it every year. But ultimately in the long run it's the best thing for the conference."
Weber said not winning a title keeps the juices of desire flowing and allows a team, any team, something to strive toward.
"We need to have teams that step it up and they have and North Knox has," Weber said. "It only makes us better as a team."
If you're still not happy with that, consider this, since the birth of the Southwest Seven the Miners have won 32 of 35 games, which works out to a .914 winning percentage.
To break down the numbers a little further, the Miners remain atop of the historical overall standings with a 32-3 mark (.914 as mentioned earlier) followed by North Knox with a 25-11 mark (.694) and North Daviess at 22-13 (.628).
The rest of the conference is well under .500 with Union (Dugger) and North Central sharing a 15-20 mark (.428) while Eastern Greene is next with an 8-28 record (.222) followed by Wood Memorial at 7-28 (.200).
These numbers are current based on the record as of Monday, Oct. 11.
Perhaps the biggest irony of those overall numbers comes in how the conference was born to begin with.
When Linton-Stockton and North Knox tried to re-form what is now the new Western Indiana Conference, Northview wanted in and they wanted nothing to do with it after that, so they formed their own.
And now they are statistically at least, the top two teams in the SW 7, go figure.
As I have told many fans over the course of my career, high school athletics generally run in cycles. One team will dominate for so long, then another will make a run and then another before the cycle begins again.
So consider this, were in the middle of the cycle right now and things will likely turn back toward the Miners in the next year or so.
So take heart, it's probably just a temporary setback.
Rick is a sport writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20 or by E-mail at email@example.com.
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