Steve Weber hit the nail on the head -- or paydirt in this case -- after his Linton-Stockton High School football team won the regional championship Saturday night.
The whispers were floating around town throughout the week before, even from the most die-hard Linton fans. They were among the fans who showed up en masse at Roy Williams Field against Milan. The question they wanted answered? "How good is this Linton team?"
The No. 3-ranked Miners answered in a big way: Very good. They shut out a good team 28-0, and proved they have a complete team.
A passing game? Check. A running game? Check. A solid defense? Check.
The end result is a 13-0 record going into this Friday's Class A semistate championship game against Indianapolis Scecina (10-3). The game will be played at the University of Indianapolis at 7:30 p.m.
"These guys will be the first to tell you that the crowd support has been unbelievable. I know I appreciate this and they also appreciate this," Weber told an enthusiastic crowd in the school's gym during a post-game pep session Saturday night. "You can see it in their faces. (Being) regional champions is unbelievable."
The Miners haven't reached a semistate since 2008, when they defeated Rockville 28-14 in the regional. That team eventually lost to Indianapolis Ritter in the semistate.
"Some have said the past couple of years we haven't gone to the semistate and kind of choked. I don't think we actually choked, we just didn't win the games," Weber said. "Hopefully this year things will work out a little different for us, and I have good feelings about this.
"It's going to be a great atmosphere (at the semistate), and I hope we travel well. I know we'll travel well. You guys (fans) are outstanding."
Then Weber addressed those who had doubts about the team's strength of schedule. He didn't take an "I told you so" approach. He was matter of fact, almost like he was trying to say it was OK to feel that way. His team's work Saturday night provided the true answer.
"If you really don't understand what happened out there, we just held one of the premier backs in the state, an over 2,000-yard rusher, to 79 yards (actually 59 yards on 27 carries)," Weber said.
"They (the Indians) play this much better schedule than we do ... how weak our schedule is, and they've played this tough competition. I don't think it mattered a whole lot (tonight).
"We beat them 28-0 and we held a great running back to under 100 yards on a night everybody said the offense has to do this and the offense has to do that. That's not exactly true. We have one heck of a defense."
High school teams must play the hand they're dealt. In Linton's case, it must play six of nine regular-season games against conference schools. The three nonconference games were against a Class 3A school (West Vigo), a 2A school (Sullivan), and an A school (Springs Valley).
This year's team has been perfect through 13 weeks. One more victory and it would mark Linton's first trip to the state finals. Five previous tries -- 1986, 1997, 1998, 2004, and 2008 -- have come up short.
Will this year be the first?
Show up at the University of Indianapolis and find out.
Chris is the general manager/editor of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 847-4487.