Top-ranked Linton-Stockton earned its school record third consecutive Class A regional championship Friday night, outscoring sixth-ranked Fountain Central 47-28.
Five turnovers proved to be the Mustangs’ undoing. Junior quarterback Koby Pierce surpassed 2,000 passing yards for the season, completing 19 of 27 for 305 yards and two touchdown passes to Trevor Loveall in the fourth quarter.
But Fountain Central’s 1,000-yard rusher, Daniel Harrison, was held to 39 yards on three carries and Jared Fishero needed 10 carries to gain 22 yards. Collin Strange rushed for 47 yards, one more than Pierce.
Fishero’s 5-yard touchdown run capped Fountain Central’s first drive, and Christian Viveros’ kick made it 7-0 with 8:22 to play.
Beau Eaton, who was 11 of 19 for 168 yards, threw touchdown passes of 8 yards to Austin Hale and 22 to Zane Hayden — the latter coming with 28 seconds left in the half — to give Linton-Stockton (13-0) a 14-7 halftime lead.
Eaton stayed hot in the third quarter, padding the Miners’ lead to 21-7 on his 11-yard run on the opening possession of the second half. His third touchdown pass, a 34-yarder to Mitch Eberhardt on Linton’s next possession, put Fountain Central in a deep hole at 28-7.
Fishero and the Mustangs responded, with the senior’s 3-yard run closing the gap to 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Linton-Stockton, which outrushed Fountain Central 326-154, turned to its running game in the fourth quarter. Eberhardt scampered 23 yards just 52 seconds into the fourth quarter for a 35-14 lead. Fountain Central kept pace with Pierce’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Loveall, but the Mustangs couldn’t afford to trade touchdowns with just 10:21 remaining.
Any realistic chance of a comeback ended when Hale scored from the 3 to make it 41-21 with 6:53 to play. Pierce found Loveall again for a 9-yard score with 4:08 to play to bring the Mustangs within 41-28.
Zane Hayden’s 23-yard touchdown run sealed the victory with 1:33 to go.
The Mustangs finish 11-2, with their losses coming to the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked teams in Class A. The 47 points allowed were the most surrendered by Fountain Central this season, surpassing the 42 scored by No. 2 North Vermillion in a 42-35 loss Oct. 11.