Saturday, November 3, 2007

Single-Wing Miners get Breakthrough Win

If you cant't beat them join them: Even the Commodores tried their hand at the Single-Wing.
Published: November 03, 2007 12:26 am
Linton Miners get breakthrough win over Perry Central for sectional title

By Andy Amey
The Tribune-Star

LINTON — The first few minutes may have won the Class A Sectional 40 high school football championship for host Linton on Friday night.

But if they didn’t, the first few moments of the second half removed all doubt as the Miners cruised to a 35-14 victory over second-ranked Perry Central.

In a battle of unbeaten teams, the home team struck immediately when Levi Baysinger recovered a Perry Central fumble on the opening kickoff and Mickey Tosti scored on a 24-yard run two plays later. With less than a minute gone, the fourth-ranked Miners were ahead 7-0.

Three plays later, after a third-down sack by Jathan Wright stopped the Commodores on their first offensive series, Linton’s Jaron Powell blocked a punt. And on fourth-and-goal from the 3, Ethan Brewer battled his way across the goal line to give the Miners a 14-0 lead with 6:43 left in the first quarter.

“I’ve never seen our kids come out so jacked in my life,” coach Steve Weber of the Miners said later. “I don’t know what we did [to get them so ready], but we’re going to do it again next week.”

If the rest of the first half was scoreless, it was not uneventful. The Commodores, with senior Bo Gibson embellishing his all-state possibilities by running (186 yards eventually) and then moving to tailback in a single-wing attack at times, and with 375-pound Robbie Piper occasionally lining up as a blocking back and leading plays behind his 335-pound brother at tackle, looked ready to put a drive together at any time, and late in the half they did.

A trade of interceptions — Gibson getting the one for the Commodores, Linton’s Cameron Coleman answering on the very next play — had been exciting enough, then the visitors started to march. Going from their 29, they got to the Linton 7-yard line in a first-and-goal situation. Two plays later, it was third and goal at the 4.

But inexplicably, the Commodores didn’t hand the ball to Gibson on either of their next two plays. Quarterback Austin Hauser was sacked on third down by Coleman, Stefan Sparks and J.D. Fish, and on fourth down Hauser was dumped by defensive end Dustin Turpin on an option play.

“We just knew we had to play fast,” Turpin said after the game. “Shut ‘em down, get the momentum on our side and put the game in the bag.”

“[Perry Central] has come back from a deficit like that and put up 40 points on people,” Linton defensive coordinator Mike Hayden said afterward. “But if we stop them, we get a shift in momentum. The kids came up with some big plays down there.”

Just 2:01 remained until halftime when the Miners took over on their 4. But two big runs by Brewer and one by quarterback Keith Cunningham not only got the Miners out of the hole, they almost led to a Linton scoring drive. Gibson got his second interception of the half with four seconds left, however.

And the momentum definitely had shifted back to the home team. Linton took the second-half kickoff and marched 65 yards in seven plays, with Brewer scoring on a 12-yard run; the Linton defense posted another three-and-out; Evan Magni returned the Perry Central punt 26 yards to the Commodore 35-yard line; and six plays later the Miners scored again, this time on a 7-yard run by Tosti, for a 28-0 lead with 5:47 left in the third quarter.

After Perry Central drove into Linton territory only to lose the ball on downs, the Miners drove for another score, putting the game out of reach at 35-0 with 8:36 left in the game.

“Us being in tight games [during the regular season] helped us out,” Weber said later, “and our guys are in pretty good shape.

“With a team like [the Commodores], they’re never out of it. We knew we had to do something right off the bat [in the second half].”

Perry Central showed its mettle by scoring twice late, overcoming a second-and-39 situation on the first drive, but the Miners were giving some younger defenders experience by that point.

“We’d love to have a shutout, but the defense played hard,” Turpin said. “We respect [the Commodores] a lot, so it would have been great [to get a shutout].”

“It feels great to win,” said Brewer, a standout both running the ball (114 yards, with Tosti adding 104 of his own] and from an inside linebacker position. “We worked out butts off in practice and we knew Perry was a good team, but this year [after losing to Perry Central the last two sectionals] we showed what we can do.

“It was great on both sides of the ball. We listened to our coaches and this it where it took us.”

Powell, a two-way standout as usual, came back from an injury midway through the second half to finish the game on the field. It was not as heroic as it appeared, he said with a laugh afterward.

“Me and [teammate Jarrett Lannan] got excited and I kept running into him,” Powell said. The inadvertant head butt created a slight inconvenience and a bandage above his left eye afterward.

“I got three stitches,” he said. “I was just sitting there on the bench hearing the crowd go crazy, so I was ready to get back in.”

Linton 35, Perry Central 14

Perry Central 0 0 0 14 — 14

Linton 14 0 14 7 — 35

L — Tosti 24 run (Gentry kick)

L — Brewer 3 run (Gentry kick)

L — Brewer 12 run (Gentry kick)

L — Tosti 7 run (Gentry kick)

L — Tosti 2 run (Gentry kick)

PC — Gibson 45 run (Linette kick)

PC — James 12 pass from Gibson (Linette kick)


First downs 14 16

Rushes-yards 32-182 48-265

Passing yards 134 13

Com-Att-Int 10-18-1 1-4-2

Return yards 30 42

Punts-avg. 2-15 2-31

Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0

Penalties-yards 5-39 1-5

Individual statistics

Rushing — Perry Central: Gibson 27-186, James 2-4, Hauser 3-minus 8. Linton: Brewer 19-114, Tosti 19-104, Cunningham 8-41, Powell 2-6.

Passing — Perry Central: Gibson 7-8-0, 79 yards; Hauser 3-10-1, 55. Linton: Cunningham 1-4-2, 13.

Receiving — Perry Central: James 5-31, Linette 4-91, Neukam 1-12. Linton: Tharp 1-13.

Next — Linton (12-0) plays next Friday at Rockville. Perry Central finished 11-1.


The Tribune Star, 222 South 7th Street, Terre Haute, Indiana 47807


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