It was homecoming night at Roy Williams Field his past Friday night, but it felt anything like a typical Miner home game. It was the first Warrior win over Linton since 2009’s 15-7 loss at Warrior Field, and it ended a stretch of 15 straight losses to the Miners. This Miner loss has been the only loss in 25 meetings since 2000. It certainly was a big win for the Warrior football program having lost the last 10 meetings by a 46-6, nearly 40 points per game. To go further into numbers, it was Linton’s first home loss to the Warriors since, I believe, 1991, a 20 to 7 NK win.
Considering that Sherren and Doades are both juniors and that 4 of the 5 offensive linemen are underclassmen, including Noland, all return next year; one wonders how the future will be between these old rivals. Linton has improved it seems week-to-week, building towards an post-season run, but will have to rebound and refocus with a sectional 40 group that is much improved from 2019, including these same Warriors.
The Miners opened things up from their own 29, converting a 3rd and 6 with a now-patented run/pass option by Hunter Gennicks for 13-yards to the Linton 46. Kaulin Padgett pushed to the Warrior 40 with a 9-yard carry, but a 3rd and 6 pass to an open Trey Goodman set up a 4th and 5 and the Warrior 35.
The Miners went to the old faithful double hand–off counter to Goodman that looked to have a chance; however, Warrior linebacker Wesley Boyd got just enough of a hand in to cause a fumble, which Boyd then fell on at the Warrior 36. NK then did what everyone expected, and that was to run until you proved you could stop it. A heavy dose of Juniors Rhett Sherron and Holtman Doades would prove not to be stopped on this otherwise cool breezed night. Linton had a chance for a 3 and out, but a 3rd and 7 was made easier on an offside call, but even then the Miner D has stopped Sherron a yard. The Warriors rolled the dice on 4th and 1 from their own 45 with QB Reece Hammelman getting just enough to move the chains.
A key play in this series was a Hammelman spot on pass to Doades across the middle for 20-yards. Sherron added a 13 yard then an 11 yard run to get NK in the Miner red zone. Again the Miner D made a stand stopping Doades just short on a 3rd and 9, but Hammelman nudged forward just enough to convert the 4th and 1 for a second time in this opening Warrior Drive. Sherron would push over from 3 put the Warriors on the board first. Doades was perfect on the PAT kick to top a 15 play 64 yard drive that ate 6:21 of the 1st quarter clock.
Doades tried to squib kick, but Cody Jackson recovered it giving Linton great field position at the Miner 44. Linton would try to answer converting a 3rd and 3 on a Gennicks-to-Goodman connection for 6-yards just crossing into NK territory. Gennicks with another keeper tallying 11 more yards would do it again a couple plays later for a 1st down at the Warrior 21. The Counter Play with Goodman this time resulted in another 12 for an 1st and goal at the 9. Coming into this game, Linton has been 21 of 23 in the Red Zone, and both no-scores were knee-taking end-of-game situations.
The Gennicks-Padgett exchange saw the ball on the ground — shades of Boonville past — with Gennicks jumping on the ball ahead of Long, but a loss of 2. Boyd and Sherron stopped Goodman at the Warrior 8 setting up a 3rd and goal from the 8. Gennicks rolled to his right, but, under pressure from Beau Noland and Blake Long, tried to force a pass back across the middle. In fairness, for a brief second it appeared Bracey Breneman had an opening in the back of the end zone, but the Warrior converged quickly. Both Breneman and NK’s Brayden Thorne leaped with Thorne getting a hand on it. It would be Boyd, who tipped in another couple times before pulling it in just in-bounds, as he fell to the ground. It was a key play early in this contest at the 9:28 mark of 2nd quarter.
Another key moment in the momentum of this game — and turning everything so heavily to the Red and Black of NK — would occur just two plays into the Warrior’s second possession. After Doades nearly broke a long run on a Padgett stop after 7, it was Sherren popping up the middle untouched and outracing all the Miners 72-yards to pay dirt that blew up the visiting crowd at The Roy. Doades drilled another PAT, and the stunned Miner Faithful were seeing Linton down 14-0 on Homecoming Night. You have to go back to 1996 to find Linton down by 14 to the Warriors, which was ultimately a 41-12 NK win.
Linton found themselves in a dogfight, having been able to move the ball in their first two possessions, but not the third. Carries by Drew Smith and Padgett were met by short gains, and Goodman took a big hit from Noland and Sherron on a 3rd down 1-yard run, forcing a 3-and-out. Jaydan Miller booted a non-returnable 43-yard punt, pinning NK at their own 14 with 7:38 left in the first half. Linton’s defense simply had to make a stop here or fear a rout at the hands of a motivated Warrior squad; however, this time is was Doades, who with a barrage of leading blockers broke free for 25-yards and only stopped by his jersey by Eli Poe at the 39. Fortunately though, the defense tightened up as Hammelman was hit by Dalton Carpenter, forcing an incomplete pass. After, Goodman dropped Doades for a loss of 1.
After a false start, Hammelman rolled to his left as Donovan DeBruhl and Jackson Fields zeroed in on him. Reece made the mistake of trying to force a play, and the pass possibly for Sherron sailed into the arms of Padgett at the Miner 45. Kaulin made a great return to the Warrior 36, giving the Miners a great chance to stop the bleeding.
It really was a ‘must-score’ situation for Linton, and back-to-back runs from Gennicks (7 yards) and Goodman (15 yards) that put Linton at the Warrior 14. This time the Miners would not be denied, as Gennicks put a pass spot-on for tight-end Levi Grounds for a 14-yard score at 4:33 left in the second. Gennicks attempt to pass for 2-points went way wrong, though, and he was sacked well behind the line of scrimmage.
Still, it was 14-6, but seemingly a new game. Linton very nearly got a huge break as Smith’s squib kick perfectly split the front line, then took a spinning bounce that neither Warrior runner seemed to want. As Miners screamed toward the free ball, Zach Boyles managed to reel the ball in just ahead of Hunter Johns and Friends at the NK 25. Perhaps the momentum had indeed changed as Linton stopped Sherren twice, as well as a Doades carry on stops by Carpenter, Smith, and Damien Giles. That forced the first Warrior punt of the night, getting the ball at their own 26 with 2:21 and time to score. But it was not the case, as Gennicks was swallowed up on 1st down gaining 2, then an overthrow for Padgett, and finally a Gennicks sack.
Levi Brocksmith had Gennicks all but wrapped up when Hunter fired the ball away drawing an Intentional Grounding call and a loss of 15. Miller came in to punt the ball 43-yards with no return to the Warrior 44 and still 1:41 left in half. The Miner D looked on-track with back-to-back 2-yard stops, but yet another explosive play (NK’s 4th of over 20-yards in the first half), as Sherren bolted though a huge lead block cavalcade for 36-yards, as Miller saved the touchdown at the Miner 16. Hammelman spiked the ball, then was sacked for a 4-yard loss, as Smith and Fields met in the backfield. That play was setup by pressure from Dalton Carpenter. After another Hammelman spike, the Warriors opted to try a Holtman Doades field goal attempt from the Miner 30, which made it as a respectable 34-yard kick. The kick was true, but just fell about 6-7 yards shy of success. Linton would take a knee and be thankful it was just a 14-6 halftime deficit.
Linton had to look at that first half and realized that mistakes had cost them one if not two scores, namely: (1.) a fumble at the NK 35 that may or may not have gotten the 5-yards to keep the drive alive, and (2.) certainly the interception in the end zone from the 8 on a 3rd down too. North Knox had put 195 rushing yards on the Miners, with 156 of that from Sherron. In fact, 117 from Sherron in the second quarter alone. NK had 217 total offense at this point, and Linton had 124 with 91 of these yards on the ground. Linton had more first downs (9-8), but it was the big runs of 72 and 36 by Sherron, and a 25-yard Doades run that had been the damage. Linton would have to come out and stop NK on the opening drive of the second half; and they had made adjustments to do just that as it was indeed a three-and-out with plays by Smith, DeBruhl, and Gabe Eslinger. Doades punt was taken by Johns at the Miner 23, and he jetted up to the 46 to give Linton a great start and opportunity. But things did not start well with a holding call, then Padgett dropped for a loss of 5 by Brocksmith. Goodman got 10 of that back on a Gennicks pass to the Miner 42, but Gennicks nearly gave a gift to NK with a forced pass on the run from Dylan Bond’s pressure. Sherron had the ball in his hands at the Linton 45, but it juggled out, and Linton could punt away. Miller got it down to Doades, at the Warrior 27 where Jaxson Walker made the instant tackle.
With 8:00 minutes showing on the third quarter clock, NK would stick to the ground game, marching on the field and converting two third-and-shorts to reach the Miner 49. It was then Rhett Sherron time with a 14-yard power run, followed by Hammelman running for 13 more. From the 24, Sherron seemed stopped at the line, but he bounced to his right to the Warrior sideline and lunging for the pylon where Miller got him out at the one. Two plays later, Hammelman dove forward to end an impressive 73-yard drive on 11 plays, then another 6:00+ minute drive. Doades PAT was wide-and-right, but NK was tasting a victory with a 20-6 lead and a raucous Warrior sideline. The Miners could do nothing offensively again with Miller punting 30-yards to the Warrior 30 on the final play of the third quarter.
After DeBruhl dropped Doades for a yard loss, it was back up Thorne in at RB for Sherron (out with cramp), who ran the same power play and was sailing down the Miner sideline before Padgett again with TD saving tackle at the Miner 23. Another Thorne run of 9 was called back on a holding call, and the Miners were able to hold on a 4th-and-9 Doades run to still stay in the game down 14 with 8:09 remaining. From their own 22, it looked dim as Gennicks missed on two passes intended to Poe, and then they had another dropped exchange for a loss of three. Miller punted 38-yards with no return to the Warrior 44. Hunter Doades made a terrific spin move in the open field to bust free for a 29-yard burst with Johns dragging him down at the Miner 21. Sherren then continued to dominate with a 17-yard run to the Miner 4. It would be Sherron with his 3rd rushing TD from 2-yards out that sealed the deal with 5:26 left. Doades extra point kick was good and the scoreboard read North Knox 27 and Linton 6.
After a Doades squib kick danced on the Warrior sideline and nearly recovered by NK before going out of bounds, Linton started at their own 38. Padgett had his best run of the night on the double hand-off counter going 16 yards into NK territory. Gennicks hit on two short passes to Goodman then Poe, then ran for 4-yards on a 3rd-and-2.
Back-to-back incompletions set up 3rd-and-10, and Gennicks just unloaded a bomb to the end zone before being pummeled by Beau Noland. The end result was an incredible one-handed grab by the still arm-casted Jaydan Miller in the back of the end zone for a Miner score! After a false start penalty on the 2-point play, Hunter Gennicks ran for the conversion at the 3:45 mark and put the game score at 27-14. The on-side kick by Smith was perfect, with a bounce that eluded the front hands unit, but it would be Boyles who came up with the last ditch effort by Linton. The Warriors would chew up the remaining 3:45 with Sherron , Hammelman, and Doades, and in fact another 20 yard Sherron burst put NK at the Miner 19. There was an interesting situation where Hammelman appeared to be stopped on a 4th and run, prior to the Sherron run. Eslinger and Braymon Lannan appeared to have made the stop with the ball popping out late. He also appeared too short, but the officials spotted the ball, and it seemed like a re-do without any flags or audible whistles. It really did seem like a 5th-and-1, which Hammelman converted. There did not seem to be much issue from the Miner sideline, so it must have been legit. The Warriors Senior QB Hammelman took back-to-back knees to a standing ovation from the Warrior crowd cheering in earnest as the clock ran out.
The Warriors put up an unbelievable 407 yards rushing on a Linton team that prides itself on Defense. At 51 rush attempts, it came out to 7.98 per carry. They added 23 passing yards for 430 total offense, which is the most a Miner D has given up in 2020. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen 407 rushing on the Miners, much less Rhett Sherron’s 262-yards on 26 carries and three scores. Casually looking back, I see Sullivan rushed for 464 in 2000 and 462 in 2004. Hamilton had 317 rush yards in 2004. Holtman Doades added 82 yards on 13 carries; Brayden Thorne had 39. Reece Hammelman was 4 of 8 passing for 23 yards with 22 of those on two receptions by Doades.
It was the worst offensive performance, too, other than week one’s loss to Southridge with just 195 total offense, and 34 of that was on a long passing TD late in the game. A total of 110-yards rushing was divided amongst Gennicks and Goodman (38 each), Padgett (24), and Smith (10). In fact, Linton only averaged 3.8 per carry. Both touchdowns came via the air as Gennicks was 7 for 16 for 85 yards. Grounds had a 14-yard TD catch, and Miller the 34-yard TD. Goodman caught 3 for19, and Poe was 2 for 18. Defensively for Linton, Eslinger led Linton with 11 tackles, Damien Giles with 9, Smith with 8, and DeBruhl and Miller both with 7. Padgett had a pick-and-return of 29 yards. It was an outstanding night for Wesley Boyd with 16 tackles for North Knox. Boyles and Long added 7 with 5 each from Hammelman and Brocksmith. Key in this loss were two Linton turnovers with a specific one in the Warrior end-zone, as well as a couple ill-timed fumbles that lost yardage.
Neither team was impressive on 3rd downs (Linton 3-10, NK 2-9) and it was a relatively penalty-free night (Linton 5-37, NK 4-28). First Downs were not overly dominated by NK with a 16-11 margin. The one standout stat that I had was explosive plays (20+) with NK 7 against the 1 Linton TD pass. It is not something we have seen Linton give up this year with four each from Sullivan and Boonville being the previous high. The Big Play has not been in the Miner highlights this year, but a time-consuming march down the field is more of the trademark in 2020. Tonight, well, we just did not see it.
You have to give credit to the North Knox team and coaches. In pregame, it was mentioned a couple times the importance of playing Rennselaer Central last week. I know it was also the first week they had everyone back in uniform at the same time.
Linton will have their last regular season home game with Eastern Greene coming across the river. The Thunderbirds are but three years from their 14-1 state runner-up season in 2017, but have struggled this year (1-6) and last (1-9). Their lone win was 16-7 in week 1 over a winless Springs Valley. Linton won last year 68-12, and they figure to be a heavy favorite this week. The Warriors are now 3-2 and travel to 4-2 North Daviess. The Cougars lost to Linton 50-14 and lost last week 42-0 to North Decatur. Both Linton and North Knox are in 2a Sectional 40, so there is always a chance for a rematch. Sectional draw is coming up soon. Evansville Mater Dei (3-4…but still the favorite!), Tell City (6-1 only loss 14-12 to Southridge) Forest Park (5-2) North Posey (3-3) South Spencer (1-6) and Crawford County (0-3) are the others.
- N.Knox: Rhett Sheren 3 Yard Run (Hunter Doades PAT Kick) 2:04 1st
- N.Knox: Rhett Sheren 72 Yard Run (Hunter Doades PAT Kick) 9:10 2nd
- Linton: Levi Grounds 14 Yard Pass From Hunter Gennicks (Run Fail) 4:33 2nd
- N.Knox: Reece Hammelman 1 Yard Run (Doades Kick Fail) 1:44 3rd
- N.Knox: Rhett Sheren 2 Yard Run (Hunter Doades PAT kick) 5:26 4th
- Linton: Jaydan Miller 34 Yard Pass From Hunter Gennicks (Gennicks Run) 3:45 4th
- Linton: H.Gennicks 11-38; T.Goodman 8-38; K.Padgett 6-24; D.Smith 4-10
- N.Knox: R.Sherron 260262 (3 TD); H.Doades 13-82; B.Thorne 2-39; R.HAmmelman 9-17; Z.Boyles 1-7
- Linton: H.Gennicks 7-16-85 2 TD 1 INT
- N.Knox: R.Hammelman 4-8-23 1 INT
- Linton: J.Miller 1-34 (TD); T.Goodman 3-19; E.Poe 2-18; L.Grounds 1-14 (TD)
- N,Knox: H.Doades 2-22; Z.Boyles 1-1; R.Sherron 1-0
- Linton: G.Eslinger 11; D.Giles 9; D.Smith 8; J.Miller-7; D.DeBruhl 7; T.Goodman-5; B.Lannon-5; H.Johns-5
- N.Knox: W.Boyd-16; Z.Boyles-7; B.Long-7; R.Hammelman-5; L.Brocksmith-5; R.SHerron-4; B.Noland-3
Total Offense: Linton: 195 North Knox 430
- Rushing Linton 29-110 3.8 North Knox: 51-407 8.0
- Passing Linton 7-16-85 North Knox: 4-8-23
- First Downs Linton- 11 (7-4-0) North Knox- 16 (14-2-0)
- 3rd Down Linton- 3-10 North Knox- 2-9
- 4th Down Linton- 0-1 North Knox 2-3
- Punts Linton Miller: 5-37.4 North Knox- Doades 2-36.5
- Kickoffs Linton Smith 2-31.5 North Knox- Doades 5-32.8
- Penalty Linton 5-37 North Knox 4-28
- Turnover Linton-2 (1F 1 INT) North Knox-1 (Int)
- Red Zone Linton 1-2 North Knox 3-5
- 3 and Out Linton 5 North Knox 2
- Explosive Play Linton 1 North Knox 7
- Pat Kick Linton — North Knox 3-4
- 2-Point Linton 1-2 North Knox —