Austin Karazsia threw for over 300 yards and four touchdown passes again Friday night. But that was not the story to Linton’s 45-7 victory over the Perry Central Commodores.
The Linton defense shutdown Perry Central’s running game, then defensive backs Cole Bradbury, Koye Kaiser and Chad Trent combined for six pass interceptions in the Class A Sectional 40 semifinal contest at Roy Williams Field.
Linton’s defense went into the game with six shutouts. In fact, the Miners were ahead 45-0 and had the starters on the bench in the fourth quarter when Perry Central scored its touchdown.
Perry Central running back Austin Leclere started the night with 1,273 rushing yards, an average of 127 yards per game. The Miners held the junior to just 76 yards.
And even with the fourth-quarter substitutions, Linton held Perry Central to just 112 yards rushing.
“I think the best defense [we] have played all year long. [We] stuffed the line of scrimmage, [defensive backs], everybody’s getting into plays. I was extremely proud of them,” Linton coach Steve Weber said.
“[Leclere’s] a good back and they do what they do very well. Our defense just played very good. Our defensive line didn’t get driven off the ball, that’s the key. [The Commodores] create a lot of double teams. They’re big and they’re used to driving people off and creating seams and our guys held their ground.”
And with the running game going nowhere, the Miners’ secondary was ballhawking. Bradbury intercepted three passes, including one at the 1-yard line. Kaiser had two interceptions and Trent finished the night with a pick in the closing minute.
Linton scored the first three times it had the football and led 17-0 after one quarter.
On the third playks of the game, from a third down and 13, Karazsia hooked up with Grant Stamm for the first of six time for a 43 yard gain, then went to Kaiser on the next play for a 17-yard touchdown.
Stammed tipped a Perry Central pass and Bradbury pulled it down to put the Miners back on offense. On the fourth play Kaiser took a short pass from Karazsia for a 32-yard touchdown.
Kicker Dyllanne Deischer put the Miners up 17-0 with a 25-yard field goal with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
By halftime the Miners were up 31-0 and weren’t looking back.
Karazsia competed 20-of-30 pases for 324 yards, including touchdown passes of 17 and 32 to Kaiser, 10 to Bradbury and a four-yarder that Dane Rupska pulled down with one hand in the back of the end zone.
“[Karazsia’s] got some good weapons and he knows it. A lot of those screen passes can turn into big yards,” Weber said.
Linton will host North Daviess next Friday in the Class A Sectional 40 championship game. Linton defeated North Davies 35-12 during the regular season.