Regional week is really the first time in the postseason where it truly feels like the best are playing the best. Sectionals weed out the inferior, while the elite of each class begin to emerge over the month of November, culminating in the state championship games on Thanksgiving weekend.
We at OutsidetheHuddle.net want to bring proper coverage to regional week. The plan is to detail each area regional showdown, continuing today with Adams Central and Monroe Central.
1. COMMON OPPONENTS
Both teams played and beat Southern Wells soundly, but it is the second common opponent that adds some intrigue.
Monroe Central went to South Adams in Week 5 and got owned, with the Starfires earning a 36-15 victory.
Meanwhile, Adams Central broke open a close game in Week 6 against South Adams to roll 49-12.
Coach Michael Mosser has made it a point to warn his team not to pay attention to what Monroe Central did against South Adams, but rather the potential threat the Golden Bears pose.
2. ON A ROLL
No one was surprised that the Flying Jets beat Southwood a week ago, but many were caught off guard by the demolition that was a 38-0 AC win.
It was the 12th win by double digits for the Flying Jets in 12 games this year.
This feels like a game in which the Golden Bears’ only chance is for Adams Central to be looking ahead to a likely showdown with Pioneer in semistate. The Flying Jets have not gotten ahead of themselves once yet this year, so this is unlikely.
Earlier this week, Mosser commented on the potential of weather being a factor on Friday. A muddy, sloppy field could even the playing field for Monroe Central, particularly in its efforts to slow down the dangerous Flying Jets offense.
With precipitation likely on Friday (although probably out of the area by the evening), the Golden Bears could use a slippery playing surface as it looks to pull the upset.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB/LB LOGAN MACKLIN, ADAMS CENTRAL
Of course we start here. Macklin has been all that he was hyped to be after last year’s standout junior campaign. He is one of Adams Central’s leading rushers, receivers and tacklers.
Monroe Central is going to have a lot of issues on both sides of the ball with Mr. Macklin
QB JACKSON ULLOM, MONROE CENTRAL
The freshman has had a solid season as the Golden Bears signal caller, throwing for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns. He is not much of a running threat, so his ability to pick apart the Adams Central defense will likely come in the pocket.
Ullom has thrown 8 INTs, but just two in the last five weeks.
OL/LB JASHAWN BERLANGA, ADAMS CENTRAL
It was Berlanga with the interception at the goal line against Churubusco that jumpstarted the magical final minutes of the first half. He is arguably the Flying Jets’ best offensive lineman and is very good on defensive both challenging linemen up front and dropping back in coverage.
LB KADEN CONKLIN, MONROE CENTRAL
If you want to beat Adams Central, you must shut down the run game. It is a long shot for Monroe Central to do that, but if it is to happen, Conklin will lead the way. The middle linebacker has 85 tackles and a team-high 8.5 sacks for a Golden Bears team that has held eight opponents to eight or less points.
KEYS TO VICTORY – MONROE CENTRAL
1. HAVE ADAMS CENTRAL BEAT ITSELF
Monroe Central is a good team, but it is not at the level of the Flying Jets. For this game to be close, Adams Central needs to take this game for granted. It needs to give Monroe Central some short fields, maybe a touchdown or two from the defense or special teams.
Basically, it needs to be a very un-Adams Central-like performance.
2. SHUT DOWN THE RUN GAME
Parker Bates can beat a team if the offense has to rely on him, but if the Golden Bears can limit the run attack, it gives them a shot. Bates can make all the throws and is talented in the run game as well, but making any offense one-dimensional causes problems.
KEYS TO VICTORY – ADAMS CENTRAL
1. DON’T LOOK AHEAD
Pioneer vs. Adams Central is for the 1A state championship, we truly believe that at OutsidetheHuddle.net. But we have to wait another week for that one, and it won’t happen if the Flying Jets come out and lay an egg on the road on Friday.
Get in, take care of business, head home and prepare for the huge showdown next week.
2. GET AHEAD EARLY
Adams Central’s ability to take Southwood out of the game mentally last week on both sides of the ball was the most impressive aspect of the game. The Flying Jets did not give the Knights any hope, putting up score after score with no answer to be seen.
Putting the Golden Bears down big early will seal this one before 8 p.m.