LINTON — Linton intercepted four passes and scored 33 second half points Friday night to beat Fountain Central 47-28 and claim its third straight regional championship.
“I know you’re happy, but are you satisfied?” one Linton observer asked the Miners in the post-game celebration at Field.
“No!” the Miners barked in unison.
The 13-0 Miners travels to Eastern Hancock next week with their season-long goal on the line in the Class A semistate.
“[The goal] is to win 15. That’s the state championship,” Zane Hayden said after rushing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Hayden also had one of Linton’s four interceptions.
Linton didn’t play a perfect game, but the Miners played an all-around game. Led by Hayden and a dominant offensive line, the Miners rushed for 360 yards, and quarterback Beau Eaton completed 8 of 16 passes with one interception for 141 yards and one touchdown.
The Miners needed all of those yards, too. Fountain Central (11-2) rolled up 469 yards with quarterback Koby Pierce completing 19-of-29 passes with four interceptions for 321 yards and two interceptions. Pierce’s primary target was Trevor Loveall who caught 10 passes for 200 yards, including two touchdowns.
“[The interceptions were] the key. They’re a passing team and that number 15 [Pierce] is a heck of a quarterback and to step up, we had [four] picks,” Hayden said.
Linton coach Brian Oliver said the Miners could have played better, but the Miners made the big plays.
“We played really well tonight. We had some mistakes out there, we gave up some big plays, but when you play a team like Fountain Central has it’s going to happen from time to time,” Oliver said.
Linton took control of this game in the late going of the first half and opening minutes of the second.
With the score tied 7-7, Linton’s Cody Van Winkle sacked Pierce for a five-yard loss on third down. The Mustangs tried a fourth down pass, but it fell incomplete and the Miners took possession with 1:23 left in the half.