This Friday will see the fifth meeting in a row with this latest series with the Monrovia Bulldogs. It was renewed in 2016, after playing from 1999 thru 2003. It has produced a couple of truly memorable games that indeed came down to final plays of the game to decide the victor. Not so in the last two meetings, though, with Linton blasting the Dogs 35-0 at Monrovia last year, and a 23-0 Bulldog win at the Roy in 2018. Overall, through nine meetings that I have on record, Linton has a 5-4 edge in wins. Last year was very tough for the Monrovia faithful, suffering through a 0-10 in a football loving town, which is not unlike Linton.
It was just a few years removed from a 34-9 three-year run that produced three Semi-State appearances, as well as a 2A State Championship in 2015 under then Head Coach Kevin Hutchins. Hutchins left after a 5-5 2018 season, leading to the one-year tenure of Nathan Aker. Monrovia welcomed back Andy Olson this year, who was no stranger to the Bulldog players and fan base. Olson was a coach on Hutchins’ staff from 2011 to 2017, and he vowed to bring back the physicality and toughness Monrovia has always been known for as Head Coach. It should be noted that the Bulldogs play in one of the perennial tough small school conferences with the Indiana Crossroads that includes Lutheran, Ritter, and Triton Central, among others.
Both the Miners and Bulldogs come into this third week with much needed “wins” under their belts. To open the season, Monrovia was overrun by 3A Cardinal Ritter 40-6, surrendering 366 rushing yards along the way. Linton did not fare much better in a 28-0 blanking to 3A Southridge and producing a mere 88-yards of total offense. Both bounced back in week two with Linton’s emotional overtime win over rivals 3A 1-1 Sullivan 22-16, as well as the Bulldogs a 20-8 win over 3A 1-1 Edgewood.
Similarities between the two teams is undeniable. Offensive and Defensive styles are much the same. Both are heavily run-orientated, and use multi backs instead of having one feature back. Passing games on both sides have had much impact, but cannot be ignored.