TERRE HAUTE —
Injured or not, Linton’s Miners still plan to play high school football tonight, and a for a few weeks after that.
Although Class A’s top-ranked team will be without two or possibly three starters for their 8 p.m. Class A Sectional 48 championship game at Perry Central, coach Brian Oliver and his staff have reasons to think the 11-0 Miners are capable of extending their season past sectional play.
Linton lost senior Grant Stamm for the season last week against Tecumseh when the wide receiver/defensive back broke his leg, and senior offensive tackle/defensive end Indiana Miller will also be out for at least another week.
But Oliver his hopeful that senior Dane Rupska, who has nursed an ankle injury for awhile, will be back at linebacker tonight — “It’s a game-time decision,” the coach said by telephone this week — even if he’s not available on offense.
Rupska, who had been a running back, then was one of Linton’s deep receiving threats as a wide receiver last season, had been the 2013 quarterback until his injury, but senior Beau Eaton has filled in admirably at that spot and should continue to do so. “We need [Rupska] more on defense than offense,” Oliver said.
Perry Central, 9-2 and on a six-game winning streak, would have been a challenge for even a healthy Linton team. The Commodores lost their opener 8-7 to Corydon, a good Class 3A team, and their only loss since then was a 34-0 setback on the road against a Tell City team that had its best season in many years.
“They’re always a big, physical team,” Oliver said. “Actually, they’re very similar to us in what they run. They’re big up front, they have a big running back … and now they have a wide receiver who can stretch the field.”
Tonight’s game is one reason the Miners beefed up their schedule this year.
“It’s another two-hour bus ride,” Oliver noted, “but being able to go up to [longtime Class A power] Sheridan [for a 26-7 Linton win] and some of the other games on our schedule should have prepared us for this.”
— Andy Amey