North Central led by one point at halftime, but Linton exploded for 40 points in the second half en route to a 59-26 victory at Roy Williams Field on Friday night.
The beat up Miners moved to 8-0 on the season with back up quarterback Beau Eaton completing 8-of-18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns and Zane Hayden rushing for a game-high 157 yards.
Linton’s defense limited North Central’s Chase VanSchoyck to 113 yards, well below his 262-yards per game average. VanSchoyck started the night with a state-leading 2,095 yards.
Eaton opened the second half with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Grant Stamm, who finished the five catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
But Stamm’s biggest play of the night may have been a third-quarter pass interception. With Linton up 27-20, North Central was on the march, but Stamm picked off the pass at the Linton 21-yard line.
Linton covered the 79 yards in eight plays, highlighted by a 48-yard pass play from Eaton to Trent Vowell. A 25-yard run by Mitchell Eberhardt got the Miners to the 6-yard line. Eberhardt scored on a two-yard run.
North Central came back with a six-play touchdown drive, Bailey finding Ben Lewis on a 10-yard touchdown pass play. But the Miners held a 35-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.
If North Central had any hopes of coming back they ended in the opening minutes of fourth quarter. Hayden took off for a 57 yard touchdown run that put the Miners up 43-26.
North Central and Linton spent the opening quarters trading touchdowns.
North Central received the opening kickoff and immediately put together an 11-play 56-yard touchdown drive. VanSchoyck caught a 19-yard pass from Dillon Bailey on the second play. Bailey put the ball right over VanSchoyck’s shoulder in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown of the game with 6:34 play in the quarter.
Linton came right back with Beau Eaton, starting for the injured Dane Rupska, throwing a short pass to Stamm, who went 76 yards for the game-tying touchdown.
Linton’s defense forced North Central into a three-and-out series and immediately started a drive. On the sixth play, North Central’s Bailey intercepted a Linton pass and returned it 35 yards to the Linton 39.
On third down and 10, Bailey hit VanSchoyck with a pass for a 39-yard touchdown. The point after kick put the Thunderbird up 14-7.
Linton closed the first quarter and started the second with an 84-yard touchdown drive. Zane Hayden broke runs of 14 and 15 yards on the drive and Eaton hooked up with Mitchell Eberhardt for a 12-yard pass play.
At the North Central 18-yard line, Eaton ran a sweep right, and just as he turned up field, Stamm delivered a big block to open up the touchdown run. However, the point-after-touchdown kick failed, leaving North Central with a 14-13 edge.
The Thunderbirds soon led 20-13. After runs of 13 yards and 1 yard by Bailey, VanSchoyck broke a 54-yard touchdown run. The PAT kick failed.
Linton responded with a 12-play, 62-yard touchdown march. On fourth down and five from the North Central 10, Stamm caught an eight-yard pass from Eaton to keep the Miners marching.
Two plays later, Eaton scored on a quarterback sneak. Linton went for two points, but NC stopped Eaton.
North Central 14 6 6 0 – 26
Linton 7 13 16 24 – 59
NC – Chase VanSchoyck 15 pass from Dillion Bailey (Bailey kick) 6:34 1Q.
L – Grant Stamm 76 pass from Beau Eaton (Jay Khangura) 6:14 1Q.
NC – VanSchoyck 39 pass from Bailey (Bailey kick) 1:28 1Q.
L – Eaton 18 run (kick failed) 9:43 2Q.
NC – VanSchoyck 54 run (kick failed) 8:13 2Q.
L – Eaton 1 run (run failed) 3:12 2Q.
L – Stamm 50 pass from Eaton (Trent Vowell pass from Eaton) 10:35 3Q.
L – Mitchell Eberhardt 2 run (Paul Goodman pass from Eaton) 4:52 3Q.
NC – Anthony Risley 10 pass from Bailey (kick failed) 2:28 3Q.
L – Zane Hayden 57 run (Vowell pass from Eaton) 11:30 4Q.
L – Eaton 30 run (Goodman from Eaton) 5:28 4Q.
L – Vowell 27 pass from Eaton (Eberhardt pass from Eaton) 2:28 4Q.
Next game – On Friday, North Central (7-2) travels to Turkey Run in Class A Sectional No. 47 while Lnton (9-0) plays at Union-Dugger in Class A Sectional 48.