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By LARRY GOFFINET
LINTON—Linton-Stockton used tremendous quickness at every position to roll past Perry Central 45-7 in the Class A football sectional semifinals.
Austin Karazsia, the Miners’ 6-foot-7 quarterback whom Indiana University is interested in, completed 22 of 30 passes for 318 yards and five touchdowns.
Some of them were deep strikes in which the Miner receiver outran the defender trying to cover him. Others were screen passes or short passes to the flats on which the receivers used their quickness to run for big gains after the catch.
Running back Koye Kaiser caught the first two touchdown passes. Perry Central Coach Greg Gibson said he had not seen Karazsia throw to his backs on videos of several Linton games he had watched. But “we covered their receivers well, so they started hitting the backs. They’ve got all kinds of weapons.”
Some of the receivers and backs also used their quickness on defense to help the Miners intercept six passes. Often it appeared that a Perry Central receiver was open and then a Linton defender would seemingly burst in from nowhere to pick off the pass.
“They’re quick everywhere and they have good closing speed,” said Gibson. “They’re probably the fastest team we’ve played since Fountain Central that one year (in the 2006 regional).”
Cole Bradbury made the first three interceptions and later caught two touchdown passes for the Miners.
Kaiser made the next two interceptions.
Perry Central also had trouble running the ball, averaging only 2.7 yards per carry. A 6-yard run by Devin Martin was the Commodores’ only run longer than 4 yards in the first half.
“They were quick to the hole and they did a good job shutting down gaps,” said Gibson. “Their line was quick, although I think we did OK there. Their linebackers were quick and when we shut down the linebackers, their defensive backs would come up—mainly the safety.”
The Miners jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first 41⁄2 minutes.
Kaiser caught a 17-yard touchdown pass on their opening drive.
On Perry Central’s third play, Bradbury intercepted a pass and returned it to the Perry Central 43-yard line.
Perry Central scored its only touchdown on a 1-yard run by Austin LeClere with 7:06 left in the game.
That kept the Commo-dores’ state-leading streak of most consecutive games without being shut out alive at 216.
LeClere led Perry Central rushers with 72 yards on 29 carries.
Linton, ranked No. 2 in the state, improved to 11-0. Perry Central finished 7-4.
“We had a good season and we have quite a few kids coming back (next year),” said Gibson. We’ll just have to hit the weights.
“I feel sorry for the seniors, though. They did everything we asked them to.”