LINTON — The North Daviess football team came into Friday night's game looking to make a statement against Class A No. 1 Linton, but the only statement that was made was by the dominant Miner offense.
Linton (6-0) defeated North Daviess (4-2) 55-0 to earn their fourth straight win over the Cougars.
North Daviess senior tailback Colton Lengacher was the main focus of the Cougars offense, but the Linton defense was ready for him at every turn. He managed just 61 yards on 16 carries in the first half and 93 yards on 28 carries for the game as the Cougars struggled to maintain any offensive rhythm. The star of the night was Linton senior quarterback Dane Rupska with five first half touchdowns.
The Miners took the ball to start the game and went right down the field to take an early 6-0 lead on a Zane Hayden 14-yard touchdown run on the 57-yard drive which took just 75 seconds off the clock. The key play of the drive was a North Daviess pass interference penalty on a 3rd-and-10 from the Cougars 29-yard-line. After a three-and-out from the North Daviess offense, Linton took a 14-0 lead on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Rupska to Grant Stamm.
"You can't give them opportunities early in the game to score," said North Daviess coach Scotty Helms.
Another Cougars' possession saw another punt and Rupska continued to drive down the field. Rupska ran for 26 yards then completed a 32-yard pass to the North Daviess one-yard-line before the senior ran it in from a yard out to push the lead to 20-0. On the next possession, Rupska ran another touchdown in from a yard out to push the lead to 26-0 with 1:56 to play in the opening quarter. The Miners kept the intensity up in the second quarter with an Austin Hale one-yard touchdown run to give Linton a 32-0 lead.
"Things just started off badly and it just snowballed," Helms said. "I don't think they are 55 points better than us, but they're an outstanding football team, they sensed blood and it was over early."
Linton would score four more touchdowns on the ground from Hayden and Mitch Eberhart in addition to a Rupska pass touchdown to take a 55-0 lead into halftime. The 55 points scored by Linton was its second highest output of the season after the 59-8 win at Wood Memorial Sept. 6. Rupska complete 8-of-11 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 28 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the first half. North Daviess managed just 56 total yards and two first downs, one of which came on a penalty.
The Cougars were called for 13 penalties for 118 yards and they turned the ball over three times after only two giveaways in the first five games.
North Daviess will visit winless Wood Memorial Friday in an attempt to bounce back after the devastating loss to the Miners. The silver lining for the Cougars is after a tough 47-28 loss in Week 2 at North Central (Farmersburg), the Cougars bounced back by winning their next three games by a combined score of 136-37 prior to the Linton loss.
"I told them don't let one half of a football game define your season," Helms said. "I love the character of this football team, and I strongly feel we'll come back strong."