There are two things that can’t be coached and one of them is speed (the other size). Speed,however, is the main advantage Linton-Stockton had over West Washington in Friday’s Class A regional championship in Campbellsburg.
The Miners’ quickness was ultimately the Senators’ demise in the 28-0 loss.
“Paoli is pretty quick, CAL (Christian Academy of Louisville) is pretty quick, but this team (Linton) is faster,” said WW Head Coach Phillip Bowsman. “That team speed didn’t allow us to get outside, but they are also stout enough in the middle to muscle up there, too.”
West Washington started the game with all the momentum.
Brenden Grimes executed a perfect squib kick to start the game, giving the Senators the ball with a short field just four seconds into the game.
“Linton won the toss and wanted to receive the ball,” Bowsman said. “We were kicking into the wind so we wanted to kick it low and get it scooting around on the ground. We were fortunate to recover it.
“We had momentum at that point but just couldn’t build off of it. It was an opportunity missed, but I give Linton all kinds of credit. They have a phenomenal team. When they were faced with challenges tonight they rose up and deserve to be moving on.”
After a West Washington punt it only took a few plays before Linton’s Koye Kaiser carried the ball 57 yard into the endzone.
Dyllanne Deischer kicked the PAT and the Miners were on top 7-0 with 9:06 remaining in the first quarter.
After a possession that ended in a punt, Linton got the ball back with 3:43 remaining on the first quarter clock and less than two minutes later, they found pay-dirt again.
Cole Bradbury caught a 30-yard pass from Brayden Hancock and Deischer again kicked the PAT, putting Linton on top 14-0.
The Miner defense forced a quick three and out and proceeded to go on another scoring drive.
This time Bradbury caught a seven-yard touchdown from Hancock and Deischer’s PAT made the score 21-0.
West Washington’s defense was forced to pick their poison against the Miners. If they played the Linton receivers close, the speed would have allowed them to get by defenders and make the big play.
That forced them to give Linton’s players a big cushion and they took advantage.
“We didn’t want to give up big plays, but we were playing a lot softer than I wanted to,” Bowsman said. “We were constantly telling the kids to get (closer to the Linton receivers), but they felt like they needed to start bailing out a little and that forced us to change our coverage. We threw the kitchen sink at Linton trying to stop them.
“The main thing is we played hard, the effort was there and I am proud of our kids.”
The second part of the poison was not getting pressure on Hancock. Bowsman said in watching film, no team the Miners had played were able to force him to make quicker decisions.
“Us not getting pressure wasn’t a fluke,” Bowsman said. “We tried to blitz him some and do some things. (Hancock) hasn’t been pressured all year.”
It was more of the same on the offensive side of the ball. West Washington did manage a handful of big plays, but they were never able to string them together for a scoring drive.
West Washington finished the season with a 9-4 record and the school’s first sectional title in 18 years.
Linton will try to continue their run at a state title when they host Indianapolis Scecina Friday.
The winner of that game will advance to Lucas Oil Stadium where they will play for a Class A state title.
Bowsman said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Miners win it all.
“I wish them luck, because they have what it takes to get all the way to the end,” he said.