November 26, 2016

After 106 Years, Linton-Stockton Celebrates Another State Championship
A year after walking off the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on the wrong end of a 34-7 score, Linton-Stockton walked off as champs this time.

The second-ranked Miners, who lost to Lafayette Central Catholic in the 2015 Class A final, downed No. 3 Pioneer 34-20, riding the legs and arm of senior quarterback Tyler Meurer to the win. Accounting for all five of his teams touchdowns, Meurer led the Miners (15-0) on back-to-back scoring drives after Pioneer (14-1) had taken a 20-19 lead with 11:45 left in the game on quarterback Jack Kiser’s 1-yard run.

Meurer ran for 158 yards and four scores, and threw for 95 yards and a touchdown. His 5-yard run, and two-point conversion, with 6:41 left capped a 59-yard drive and gave the Miners a 27-20 lead. The Miners then forced a fumble at the Pioneer 31, and eight plays later Meurer went in from a yard out to clinch the win. It was the first football state title for the Miners and Head Coach Brian Oliver.

Linton-Stockton took a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Cody Corbin’s blocked punt, recovered by teammate Garrett Mason at the Pioneer 13, set up Meurer’s 1-yard TD. A missed extra point made the score 6-0.

Pioneer came back to tie the game at 6 early in the second quarter on Kiser’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Nate Johnson. The Panthers drove 65 yards in 10 plays, converting two third downs in the process.

But the Miners would strike back late in the half to take the lead. Meurer hit William Smith on a short sideline pass that Smith was able to turn into a 53-yard score, spinning around one defender to get into the clear and outrun the rest of the Panther defense. Luke Wilson’s extra point gave the Miners a 13-6 advantage. The teams would exchange third-quarter touchdowns before Pioneer took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter on Kiser’s score.

Kiser finished the game with 153 yards passing and 102 rushing, accounting for three touchdowns. His 76-yard completion to Nick Barkas early in the fourth quarter broke the Class A finals record for longest pass play and longest play from scrimmage.

Pioneer, coached by first-year leader Adam Berry, was trying for its first football title since 1997.

State Records (Class A Individual)

Longest Pass Completion: 76, Jack Kiser to Nick Barkas, Pioneer vs. Linton Stockton, 2016.

Longest Play Scrimmage: 76 pass, Nick Barkas, Pioneer vs. Linton Stockton, 2016.

Pioneer’s Austin Harmon named Ress Mental Attitude Award winner
At the conclusion of the state championship game, the IHSAA Executive Committee named Austin Harmon of Pioneer Junior-Senior High School as the winner of the Blake Ress Mental Attitude Award in Class A Football.

Harmon is a three-sport athlete also participating in swimming and baseball.  He is a member of four consecutive Pioneer sectional championship football teams and a four-year letter-winner.  He is a member of Student Council, Pep Club and is the treasurer of National Honor Society. He is also an active member in his community, volunteering for United Way, Salvation Army, Royal Center Fire Department, and Cass County Fair Extension Homemakers.

Austin is the son of Cory and Dawn Harmon of Royal Center, IN.  He plans to attend either Ball State University or Indiana University-Kokomo to study elementary education.

Each year the IHSAA Executive Committee selects a senior player who was nominated by his principal and coach and was determined to have best demonstrated mental attitude, scholarship, leadership, and athletic ability. This Class A award is named in honor of the IHSAA’s seventh commissioner who served from 2000-11.

The Indianapolis Colts presented a $1,000 scholarship to Pioneer Junior-Senior High School in the name of Austin Harmon. The Colts have been the presenting sponsor of the entire football state tournament since 2009, including the mental attitude awards.