By KEVIN HARRIS
LINTON – Providence’s comeback attempt Friday night at defending Class A state champion Linton-Stockton came up short, as the Miners won 40-34. It was the regular-season finale for both teams.
Linton-Stockton (6-3), which moved up to Class 2A this season because of the IHSAA’s success-factor rule, extended its lead to 32-6 with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Lance Dyer.
Two huge plays by junior running back and safety Kaden Williams after the score got the Pioneers’ rally started.
Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to the end zone at the 10:35 mark, slicing Providence’s deficit to 32-13. Almost two minutes later, Williams recovered a fumble and ran 44 yards to paydirt to get the Pioneers (4-5) within 12 points at 32-20.
With 3:26 remaining, quarterback Keaton Cox made a 1-yard touchdown run to get the Miners’ lead up to 38-20. Cox followed that by completing a pass to teammate Braiden Irish in the end zone for the two-point conversion to put the Miners up 40-20.
But Providence refused to go away quietly.
Senior Manny Schmidt made a 21-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Joe Denis at the 1:36 mark to trim the Pioneers’ deficit to 40-27.
With 21 seconds remaining, Providence blocked a punt to give it the ball at the Linton-Stockton 20-yard line. Eight ticks later, Denis connected with Schmidt on a 20-yard TD pass to pull the Pioneers within six.
But the Providence rally ceased when the Miners recovered an onside kick and ran out the rest of the clock.
Williams had 88 rushing yards and one TD on the ground on 11 carries. Denis completed 8-of-19 passes for 95 yards, while Schmidt had four receptions for 64 yards.
The Pioneers will travel to Perry Central (4-5) at 7:30 p.m. EDT next Friday in a first-round game in Class 2A Sectional 39.
LINTON-STOCKTON 40, PROVIDENCE 34
Providence 0 6 0 28-34
Linton-Stockton 7 12 7 14-40
L – Keaton Cox 25 run (Braiden Irish kick), 7:22.
L – Chance Howard 7 run (kick failed), 7:50.
P – Kaden Williams 48 run (run failed), 5:10.
L – Cox 13 run (kick failed), 1:22.
L – Lance Dyer 37 pass from Cox (Irish kick), 5:05.
L – Dyer 4 run (kick failed), 10:50.
P – Williams 73 kickoff return (Brandon Schafer kick), 10:35.
P – Williams 44 fumble return (Schafer kick), 8:53.
L – Cox 1 run (Irish pass from Cox), 3:26.
P – Manny Schmidt 21 pass from Joe Denis (Schafer kick), 1:36.
P – Schmidt 20 pass from Denis (Schafer kick), :13.
PIONEERS’ WIN STREAK ENDS AT MILAN
MILAN – Class 2A No. 9 Milan ended visiting Providence’s four-game winning streak Oct. 6 with a 29-12 victory.
Williams kept the Pioneers (4-4) in the game. With Providence trailing 6-0, Williams made a 78-yard touchdown run to tie the contest at six with 10:54 remaining in the second.
With the Indians (7-1) up 22-6, Williams got Providence back within 10 by returning a punt 85 yards for a touchdown at the 4:58 mark of the third quarter.
Williams had 102 rushing yards on 12 carries and made six receptions for 60 yards. Denis was 10-of-20 passing for 136 yards and one interception, while Schmidt had three receptions for 67 yards.
MILAN 29, PROVIDENCE 12
Providence 0 6 6 0-12
Milan 0 15 7 7-29
M – Jacob Burton 6 run (kick blocked), 11:15.
P – Kaden Williams 78 run (kick failed), 10:54.
M – James Schmidt 29 field goal, 7:40.
M – Jed Minnich 1 run (kick blocked), :42.
M – Minnich 49 run (Schmidt kick), 8:56.
P – Williams 85 punt return (pass failed), 4:58.
M – Zach Minnich 55 pass from David Carpenter (Schmidt kick), 10:09.