Game Day Preview: Miners travel to Cayuga to face the 1-2 North Vermillion Falcons

Linton makes the long journey to Cayuga to face North Vermillion, a game that has been a regular meeting every week #4 since 2015, but also had met in post-season games in 2015 and 2014, too.   The Falcons won that 2014 Regional game, 31-8, that later saw the Falcons run the table beating Pioneer in the 1A State title game and finishing 15-0 for the year.  The Miners would win both meetings in 2015, the second game a Semi-State 56-27 win, sending Linton to their first State title game.  They lost that game to LCC, but would return in 2016 to beat Pioneer for their 1A State trophy, beating NV 55-0 along the way.  Linton has dominated the series winning all six regular season meetings.

Last year at The Roy it was a 52-7, 38-20 in 2019, 34-7 in 2018, 54-18 (2017), 55-0 (2016) and 21-7 in 2015. They also met every year from 1975 to 1980 with the Falcons winning 5 of those 7 games.  Overall in 14 meetings, the Miners have won 9 and lost 5.

Linton comes in 3-0 with a win at previously unbeaten Monrovia. 34-8. They have been a second-half team, too, but only in terms of the offense. They trailed 13-0 to Southridge at the half, but won 27-13 shutting out the Raiders in the second-half. Linton beat 2-1 Sullivan 34-21 in a game that was 7-7 at the half. The Miners trailed 8-6 last week, then put up 28 in the second-half and blanking the Bulldogs, as well.

Linton has been led by Jr QB Hunter Gennicks (#14 6’0” 195) with 377 rushing and 4 TDs, averaging 125.7 per game. But the offense is much more than just Gennicks, as 173 yards comes from Sr WB #2 Gabe Eslinger (6’0” 205) and another 165 from Jr WB Hunter Johns (#12 5’8” 170) with 7 TDs between them. Add to that Sr RB Drew Smith (#13, 6’2” 215) with physical inside runs.

The Offensive Line has been impressive with Sr Cameron Goodman (#54 6’3” 200) a converted tight end at Tackle, Jr Aiden Giles (#56 6’3” 215) the other. Guards last week were Jr #51 Wrigley Franklin (6’3” 225) and Sr #65 Jackson Lynn (6’0” 185) another converted TE pushed there by an injury to 1st week starter Freshman #69 Hank Gennicks (6’2” 235). Sr #58 Donovan DeBruhl (6’0” 275) and Sr #62 Cody Jackson (5’10” 195) both missed last week, but has also been contributors on the OL.

Defense has been a strongpoint thus far for Linton, holding opponent’s known for their rushing attack (Southridge, Monrovia and Sullivan) to just 2.2 yards per carry. From the veteran line backing corps of Eslinger (leads the team with 38 stops, 4 TFL) and Sr #44 Bracey Breneman (6’2 200); Johns (14 Tackles, 3 sacks, 3.5 TFL) and Smith (18 tackles 4.5 for loss). Franklin has 16 tackles, 4.5 for loss at DE, who along with Giles, Goodman, DeBruhl and Sr #63 Jackson Fields (6’0 205) have shown speed and quickness to the ball. Pressure on QB’s has been impressive with Johns credited with 8 hurries, Franklin with 6. An experienced group of DBs has also been solid with 3 picks, 2 of those from Poe at CB whom along with Sr #7 Kaulin Padgett (5’8 190), Gennicks and Sr #32 Jaydan Miller (5’8 150). As well as Webb and Riggleman, let’s not forget.

North Vermillion has put up big offense, averaging 36.7 ppg. They opened up beating North Central 34-28 in overtime to open the season, but have dropped two in-a-row, including a high scoring 60-40 loss to 2-1 Covington last week. They also were on the wrong end of a 50-36 tally against rival South Vermillion (1-2) in week #2.

Soph QB Jerome White (#12, 6’1” 205) has elusive moves in open field, but is also a physical runner too. He threw for 250 yards and ran for 78 is last week’s loss to Covington. The backfield consists of RB #34 Jon Martin (6’0” 170) and FB #44 Carter Edney (Sr 5’10” 205). #24 Landon Naylor, #32 Dalton Taylor, both Seniors) and Soph Cody Tryon are the receivers. Up front it was been #65 Aiden Hinchee (Soph 6’2” 185), and #72 Atticus Blank (Jr 6’2” 265) on one side, #58 Brayden Schrader (Se 5’9” 170) and #75 Weston Rowe (Sr 6’3” 210) on the other with center #56 Evan Galloway (Jr 5’7 200).

Schrader and Hinchee were both moved to the Offensive line from skill positions last year. Players to watch on the defensive side include Edney at ILB and Rowe on the defensive line. Other names on the defense are LB Landon Baker (Soph 5’10” 165) and DL Elijah Appel (Sr 6’1” 275).

Gennicks has hit 47% of his passes (20 -42-287 yards) with 2 TDs and 1 pick. Eslinger leads in receptions with 7 for 91, but have weapons with Se #24 Eli Poe (4-42), Sr Logan Webb (3-33) and Sr Aiden Riggleman (2-30), as well as Johns with 3 for 81.

Coach Brian Crabtree and Coach Brian Oliver are very familiar with each other, too, as Coach Crabtree’s coaching years at North Central were a yearly opponent with the Miners.

Featured file photo by Austin Gordon Photography

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