CHARLOTTESVILLE — From Charlottesville, you can see almost see Downtown Indianapolis and the Lucas Oil Stadium. Unfortunately, that is as close as Linton got to the Class A state championship game.
The goal of winning 15 games and a state championship ended Friday night in the semistate for the third year in a row. Eastern Hancock eliminated the Miners 37-16 at Eastern Hancock High School.
“Our kids came out and played a great season. They weren’t expected to be here and they stepped up and they performed all year. Unfortunately we fell short of our goal,” first-year Linton coach Brian Oliver speaking to the media for the first time after a loss.
The Royals did to the Miners what the Miners did to so many opponents this season – dominate the line of scrimmage.
Eastern rolled up 451 yards of total offense, rushing for 326 yards while running 72 offensive plays, compared to Linton’s 56 plays. On the defensive side, the Royals limited the Miners to just 146 rushing yards and 252 yards of total offense.
Eastern’s Spencer Gilbert, a force Linton could not block consistently on defense, rushed for a game high 141 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Royals.
Linton was led by quarterback Beau Eaton, rushing for 61 yards while completing 10-22 passes with one interception for 106 yards and one touchdown.
“We were struggling. You could tell, Eastern Hancock is a great team. They gave us fits all night. We couldn’t [run] a lot of plays that we’ve been able to do because they were controlling the line. But our kids kept fighting hard just like they did all year,” Oliver said.
Linton made some uncharacteristic mistakes and the ball never bounded the Miners way. The Miners were flagged for six penalties for 45 yards in the first half and finished the night with 70 penalty yards. One penalty was for 12 men on the field and later the Miners burned a timeout due to a substitution problem.