The Class A No. 1 Linton Miners will remain atop that poll following a less-than-perfect but extremely clutch performance against rival Sullivan.
The Miners turned the ball over on downs four times in addition to a lost fumble and an interception, but visiting Sullivan’s five turnovers proved fatal. Linton scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally for a 34-24 high school football victory.
Sullivan showed the ability to end a three-game losing streak in the series — Mike Willis connecting with 6-foot-4 wide receiver Michael Hutchcraft for 74 yards in the first half as one example — but Linton showed poise under pressure to earn the win.
“This was a huge win for us. Our kids fought threw the weather, turnovers, silly penalties and showed a lot of character tonight,” first-year Linton coach Brian Oliver said. “We were able to get a W against a good team and a big rival.”
Sullivan coach Trent Olson was proud of the effort his team put forth in a tough environment.
“It was a gutsy effort by both teams. Everybody’s worn out, everybody’s tired and banged up,” Olson said.
Grant Stamm, who made a leaping 26-yard touchdown catch from Dane Rupska with 20 seconds left in the first quarter, also made a late burst to break up a pass to a wide-open Hutchcraft in the end zone in the second quarter.
Sullivan still managed a 10-8 lead at halftime thanks to the strong leg of Kynan Johnson, who kicked a 35-yard field goal a week after kicking the Golden Arrows to a 30-27 win in Week 1 against Vincennes Lincoln.
While pass coverage was improved in the second half, Oliver said it was all about getting more pressure up front.
“We talked about little techniques with the DBs, but we kept playing what was working for us, trying to get more pressure on us. Trying to get Willis to make a couple mistakes,” Oliver said.
The Linton offense never really put together a long, fluid drive, but the Golden Arrows gave them assists with a couple turnovers in their own territory in addition to poor kickoff coverage.
““We had some problems in pass pro and we just turned the ball over too much in the second half. We gave them the ball about the 20 twice. We couldn’t get off that end of the field for a while and couldn’t get anything going,” Olson said. “
Stamm caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Rupska to open the second-half scoring and put his Miners ahead again.
But Sullivan’s Trevor Magill returned a kickoff 44 yards near midfield, and Willis scampered 45 yards on the first play of that drive to the Miners’ 1-yard line before sneaking in to the end zone for a go-ahead score.
After a deep kickoff, Sullivan forced a Beau Eaton fumble and extended the momentum by creating points off the turnover.
Cameron Marx, who punched it in from three yards out in the first quarter, added a two-yard TD run to extend the Arrows’ lead to 24-16 going into the final quarter.
Linton seemed to regain a spark when they forced Willis out of the pocket and into his own end zone. He was flagged for intentional grounding for a Linton safety.
The Sullivan defense forced Linton into a fourth-and-14 just inside the Sullivan 20-yard line, but Beau Eaton passed under pressure to Stamm for a 15-yard pickup. The crucial first down allowed Austin Hale to score from three yards out to tie the game at 24-24.
“That was the difference in the game right there,” Oliver said. “If we didn’t get that first down, we probably wouldn’t have won that game. We had two great athletes making plays for us. We told Beau, just get it up in the air in a good place and Grant would go up and get it,” Oliver said.
After a 5-yard penalty on the two-point attempt — Linton is still searching for a kicker in the post-Dyllanne Deischer era — Beau Eaton found Paul Goodman wide open in the end zone to put the Miners ahead.
Goodman and Zane Hayden intercepted Willis passes to contain the chance for a Sullivan rally.
Sullivan will try to move on and bounce back against a 2-0 North Knox team.
“Regardless of what happens in this game, the following week is always an emotional let down, maybe for them too. North Knox seems to be really having a good year so far. We definitely have to bounce back in a hurry,” Olson said.
Sullivan 7 3 14 0 — 24
Linton 8 0 8 18 — 34
S — Marx 3 run (85 kick), 5:03 1Q
L — Stamm 26 pass from Rupska (Hale run), 0:14 1Q
S — Kynon Johnson FG, :03 2Q
L — Stamm 27 pass from Rupska (Eaton run), 7:30 3Q
S — Willis 1 run (Johnson kick), 6:12 3Q
S — Marx 2 run (Johnson kick), 1:38 3Q
L — Safety, 7:40 4Q
L — Hale 3 run (Goodman pass from Eaton), 5:38 4Q
L — Hale 27 run (Stamm pass from Eaton), 3:32 4Q
Next — Sullivan (1-1) plays host to North Knox next Friday. Linton (2-0) plays at Wood Memorial.
The Class A No. 1 Linton Miners will remain atop that poll following a less-than-perfect but extremely clutch performance against rival Sullivan.
- High School
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Paris rally falls short in Super Sectional
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“I thought we had ‘em,” Tiger coach Shawn Nugent said after the Class 2A Super Sectional game won by the Bluejays 58-49.
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Coach Risinger’s Heritage Christian squad rose to the occasion Saturday in Hulman Center, holding the Cavaliers to 33-percent shooting to claim the school’s fifth state title since joining the IHSAA in 2003.
The Eagles won their first title since 2009 by a score of 64-61.
Class A girls: Oregon-Davis holds off Vincennes Rivet
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Class 3A girls: Western over Evansville Mater Dei 38-35
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Mater Dei (26-2), which had an average margin of victory of 27 points throughout the season, struggled against Western’s 2-3 zone all night long in falling to the Panthers 38-35.
Class 4A girls: Bedford North Lawrence wins second straight title
Damon Bailey guided Bedford North Lawrence to a second straight state championship in his first year as head coach.
Bailey, an assistant on the Stars’ unbeaten Class 4A champions in 2013, watched his team hold off a scrappy Penn squad for a 51-41 victory Saturday night.
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Damon Bailey among coaches directing daughters at Hulman Center on Saturday
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Class 4A title favorite Bedford North Lawrence looked to repeat as champions late Saturday night. Former BNL state champion and Indiana Hoosier great Damon Bailey led his Stars into the game with a pair of daughters on the court. Junior Alexa Bailey, wearing No. 22 of course, is a Butler recruit and sophomore Loren is a reserve for the Stars.
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Temples’ 3-pointers help Paris advance
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Ailing Wilkey helps Rockville advance to title game
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Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center
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Damon Bailey, 1990 Mr. Basketball for state champion Bedford North Lawrence and former Indiana University great, is the most familiar name to Hoosier basketball fanatics. In his first year as a girls varsity coach, Bailey leads BNL into action in the 4A state championship game.
With 590 career wins, Fort Wayne Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Behind senior Miss Basketball candidate Maura Muensterman, Steve Goans leads Evansville Mater Dei into the Class 3A title game on the heels of consecutive 2A titles.
No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season
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North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional
Terre Haute North did not bow out of the boys high school basketball tournament Tuesday night like a team on a seven-game losing streak.
The Patriots executed their gameplan, battled back from a double-digit deficit and forced Class 4A No. 5-ranked Brownsburg to hit free throws to win the opener of the Class 4A Avon Sectional.
Brownsburg (19-2) hit six straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 15 seconds to hold off the Patriots 51-47.
Two sets of Eels win at WRV Sectional
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Defensive pressure and depth made the difference in both games, as Eminence ended the Union season — perhaps its last, at least as a public school — by a 59-46 score and Clay City pulled away in the second half for a 53-44 win over Shakamak.
Paris knocks off 23-2 Clinton Central in overtime sectional thriller
Paris’ boys basketball team has learned a lot in a late-season run of success, but the one thing that set the Tigers apart on Tuesday in Class 2A Westville Sectional semifinal game was composure.
The Tigers never got rattled, never flinched and got the ultimate reward.
BOYS SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Linton holds off Sullivan at North Knox
Linton and Eastern posted victories in the opening round of the North Knox Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday.
Linton led most of the way to defeat Sullivan 51-43 in the first game. Eastern Greene bested North Central 62-42 in the nightcap.
Linton is 16-6 and will take on North Knox and Eastern Greene faces South Knox in the semifinals on Friday. North Knox takes an 11-game winning streak into the action.
Tough roads ahead: Terre Haute North faces big challenges in its sectional
With the hope that the obligatory snow is already on the ground, high school boys basketball sectionals begin today in Indiana, and for one Wabash Valley team in Illinois.
South swimmers fall short of lofty goals at state finals
Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
That would best describe Terre Haute South’s performances Saturday in the 77th annual IHSAA boys swimming and diving state championships at the IU Natatorium.
Center Grove deals Terre Haute North 7th loss in row
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Prep roundup: Casey falls at Robinson Regional; Paris posts upset win at home
Teutopolis finished strong Friday night to defeat Casey 47-36 and win the Robinson Class 2A Regional for boys basketball teams.
- More High School Headlines
- Clay City wins regional title game thriller