When that play -- a inside handoff to Zane Hayden at the goalline -- ended, the Miners were again denied a trip to the IHSAA Class A State Finals by Indianapolis Scecina Memorial High School.
This time it was a 17-14 loss in overtime at Roy Williams Field Friday night.
With the crowd on both sides of the field hanging on with every emotion and every hit, Zane Hayden took an inside handoff from quarterback Austin Karazsia.
When the whistle blew, the officials had ruled he was just inches short of paydirt and the IHSAA Class A State Finals.
Hayden had been successful in other attempts throughout the night, leaving the decision about who to give the football to that much less of a gamble.
"It was too close to call really," Miner quarterback Austin Karazsia said. "We called the play and just didn't get it.
Hayden finished the night with just 12 yards, but they were all on the inside at key times to help sustain drives.
"Everybody out there was giving it their all, our team and theirs," Weber said. "There was a lot riding on it and it just didn't go our way."
"That's what the kids wanted," he said. "I think they would have hung me up from a pole if I had told them to kick."
Scecina's staunch defense quickly forced the usually potent Miner air attack into a rushing scheme.
Karazsia, who holds nearly every Linton-Stockton passing record, was held to under 200 yards passing.
The lanky senior completed 21 of 28 throws for 143 yards and an interception.
Instead the Miners were forced to turn to the ground for success, something Weber thought his team was able to do with success as well.
"I knew we could move the ball," Weber said. "It came down to they were going to try and take away the pass and make us run, we were able to get that done."
Both squads fought back from touchdown deficits and ultimately forced the extra session.
The Crusaders failed to find the end zone in their half of the OT, but took the lead when Luke Frain's 25 yard field goal snapped the deadlock.
That left the door ajar just enough for the Miners to believe they were within the grasp of an elusive trip to Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the state finals next weekend.
Back to back to back runs by senior tailback Koye Kaiser moved the football from the 10 yard line where the series began to inside the 1 yard line where the game ended.
"We were going to run the play no matter what, we were on the inch-line," Karazsia said. "We just didn't get it.
"We're going to analyze it, coach is going to look it over. We played a great game, the defense played great and it was a great team.
"It's just going to be a tough loss for a while."
Much like a pair of heavyweight chess champions searching for a title, the two head coaches -- Weber and Scecina head coach Ott Hurrle -- matched wits and playbooks for the entire 48 minutes of regulation and then some.
"This was fun, a chess match, what are we going to do, what they going to do," Weber said. "It was a great game and whoever was here watching the price of the ticket was worth it."
The Crusaders drew the first attack when David Tarver ran 6 yards for a second quarter score at the 11:54 mark.
It took almost the entire quarter for the usually high-flying Linton-Stockton offense to retaliate. It came when Dane Rupska hauled in a 5-yard pass from Karazsia with less than a minute before the half to even things completing the first comeback by the two teams.
Third quarter action saw the Miners take a 14-7 lead when they chewed up nearly seven and a half minutes on their way to their first and only advantage.
It paid off when Karazsia ran the football in to the end zone from a yard out with 1:21 to go in the third.
Then came the biggest blow to Linton-Stockton's hopes to prevent a seventh straight semistate loss.
With the Miner defense pinning the Crusaders back at their own 25 yard line after one of their five fumbles (none lost), Tarver used both his legs and Lady Luck to even the score.
He bounced his way through the Miner defense before being the benefactor of a loose football that hopped back into his hands at midfield and finished off the 75 yard run to tie the score just one minute later.
"Sometimes luck is nice to have," Weber said. "But it was a great football game and it was a blast to coach in up until the last second."
The loss was the second straight to Scecina in the semistate and the seventh straight loss (five at home) by a Miner football team at the penultimate level of the tournament.
"How many times before we can crack it and get it done," Weber asked rhetorically. "You don't know how frustrating it is."
With the same frustration mired in his voice as his coach, Karazsia said that no matter what he was proud of the efforts shown by his teammates and himself.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "And I think we're really going to be better people because of this.
"Just down the road we're going to be better people, we'll be fine."
The Miners completed the year 13-1 while the Crusaders will have a date at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the Class A State Finals against Lafayette Central Catholic in a rematch of last year's title game. LCC won 38-7.
CRUSADERS 17, MINERS 14, OT
Indianapolis Scecina 0 7 7 0 3 -- 17
Linton-Stockton 0 7 7 0 0 -- 14
S -- David Tarver 7 run (Luke Frain kick), 11:54.
L -- Dane Rupska 5 pass from Austin Karazsia (Dyllanne Deischer kick), :56.
L -- Karazsia 1 run (Deischer kick), 1:21.
S -- Tarver 75 run (Frain kick), :21.
S -- Frain 25 field goal, no time kept.
|Time of possession||18:01||29:59|
RUSHING -- Indianapolis Scecina, David Tarver 15-156, Thomas Allgood 10-35, Jordan Brown 3-11, Robert Rennick 6-(minus 42). Linton-Stockton, Koye Kaiser 28-74, Karazsia 10-38, Zane Hayden 6-12, Cole Bradbury 1-10, Abe Neff 2-8.
PASSING -- Indianapolis Scecina, Rennick 2-5-0-4. Linton-Stockton, Karazsia 21-28-1-143.
RECEIVING - Indianapolis Scecina, T. Allgood 1-5, Brian Allgood 1-(minus 4). Linton-Stockton, Grant Stamm 6-56, Hayden 5-24, Dane Rupska 4-44, Mitch Eberhardt 2-15, Bradbury 2-13, Kaiser 2-(minus 1).
MISSED FIELD GOAL -- Frain, 37.