By Gregg A. Sims
Washington Times Herald
North Daviess and Linton are old friends on the football field, and the duo have another chance to play for a Class A sectional title at Linton today.
Linton (11-0) enters the contest as a southern Indiana powerhouse that has averaged 53 points per game while holding he opposition to five per outing.
The 5-6 Cougars average 27 per game while allowing 25.
Linton has had the better of the rivalry as of late, winning eight of the last 10 meetings. The Miners dropped an 81-6 loss on North Daviess in the sectional championship game in 2011.
North Daviess last won by a 73-33 margin during the 2010 regular season in a game at Cougar Valley.
Linton has won the last three sectional championship games the teams have played.
Quarterback Austin Karazsia is one of the state’s leading passers with 2,308 yards on 168 completions with 31 touchdowns through the first 10 games.
North Daviess perhaps have come as close anyone, attempting to slow the Miner road to a perfect record. North Daviess held the Miners to 35 points in a 35-12 loss. That’s the fewest points Linton has scored in a game this season, and the 12 points are the most the Miners have allowed.
“We trying to do all the things we need to do to win a game like this,” North Daviess coach Scott Helms said of the week’s preparation. “They (Linton ) are a very good football team.”
Helms said he thought his team followed the game plan in the regular season. It was simply a matter of starting too late.
“We executed the plan for the last three quarters,” Helms said. “We need to execute for the entire 48 minutes. We can’t wake up after five minutes or the end of the first quarter. We have to start from the beginning.”
Winning time of possession and running the ball to keep Linton’s offense off the field will be a key for the Cougars.
Colton Lengacher has gained 1,788 yards on 231 rushes and has scored 22 touchdowns for North Daviess this fall.
Logan Turpin has added 774 yards and eight scores.
And while those numbers exemplify the ground game, Helms said simply running the ball will not be enough for his team.
“I think they (Linton) realize we have a good ground game,” Helms said. “But we can’t go into this game thinking that we can just run the ball. We will probably have to throw at least 10 to 15 times to be able to run. We won’t be able to run in they have nine or more guys stacked inside the box.”
Stopping early big plays will be on the North Daviess defense.
That comes from both the pass and run.
“Linton has a lot of speed, and that’s something you can’t teach,” Helms said. “We have to pressure the quarterback — make him go to second reads — play good leverage on their backs and receivers. We have to prevent the big play. We need to make them play a lot of downs to make them get the ball down the field.”
Helms believes execution will be a key for his Cougars.
He understands the Cougars will have to a good game on Linton’s home field.
“Our kids are confident, they feel they can play with anyone,” Helms said. “There will be highs and lows on the way. We simply have to play 48 minutes of some very solid, hard-hitting football.”