While we may only be in Week 6 of the regular season, we all know what is on the line in Berne on Friday night when Adams Central visits South Adams – the ACAC championship.
What will go down when these two 1A powers clash again? Outside the Huddle breaks it down.
1. THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE LAST TIME
Last time we saw these two squads on the same field, Adams Central was celebrating a regional championship while South Adams headed to the locker room in shock.
That was last November, a 19-7 Flying Jets victory that astounded many, considering AC lost to the Starfires by 28 in the regular season.
What kind of lasting impact has that game left heading into this showdown?
2. ACAC TITLE GAME
Adams Central and South Adams are without a doubt the two best teams in the Allen County Athletic Conference. No other team in the conference has the offensive firepower, the running attack and the smothering defense as these two have.
These two teams have split the last three league crowns. It will be four in 2020.
3. A FAMILY AFFAIR
We all know that this rivalry is close to home with Monroe and Berne are a whole eight miles and some change apart, but there are a lot of family connections involved too on the teams and between the teams.
South Adams has plenty of brothers on their roster, including Austin and Alex Gorney, Sam and Jacob Plattner and Christian and Maverick Summersett.
On the Adams Central side, Alex Currie and brother Trevor are first cousins with sophomore quarterback Ryan Black. And through the three you can also link to the past as Black’s mom is good friends with the mom of AC legends Hunter and Parker Bates.
As for the cross rivalry relationships, the Wanner brothers are actually nephews of Adams Central coach Michael Mosser and therefore also related to Adams Central junior Josh Mosser. Lets just say that we’ve been told it has created some tense moments for the family over the years.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB RYAN BLACK, SOPHOMORE, ADAMS CENTRAL
Not to put a lot of pressure on a sophomore, but Ryan Black may be the most important player on the field on Friday.
OK, that is a lot of pressure.
Dallas Schwaller was able to threaten South Adams downfield last year in the regional matchup from the QB spot, helping to open up the offense a bit.
The Flying Jets do not need Black to be Schwaller, but they do need him to keep off balance a Starfires offense that is going to sell out to try and stop the run.
WR DREW STUTZMAN, SENIOR, SOUTH ADAMS
You can bet that Stutzman is as eager as anyone to hit the field on Friday. In Week 6 last year, the wideout hauled in six catches for 87 yards and a TD in the 42-14 rout of Adams Central, but missed the regional contest.
Some have asked “what might have been” as South Adams struggled to get the ball downfield in the deep passing game last November, a specialty of Stutzman.
This year, the senior has been money, with seven touchdowns and 395 yards receiving on just 18 receptions.
DE JOE COLLIER, SENIOR, ADAMS CENTRAL
Collier is a problem on the edge every Friday, but he needs to take it to another level against the Starfires.
Luckily for AC, Collier has that extra gear that he can use to get in the backfield and disrupt QB James Arnold’s rhythm. That will be key, as the Flying Jets cannot afford to allow Arnold to sit in the pocket and pick them apart downfield.
DT AUSTIN GORNEY, SENIOR, SOUTH ADAMS
In looking to slow down the Blake Heyerly-Alex Currie rushing attack, South Adams will need to get a push up front with its defensive line.
Enter Gorney, who at 5-foot-9, 315 pounds has the bulk and strength to be a problem for the Flying Jets. Adams Central will be at a disadvantage if it is placed in 2nd- and 3rd-and-long situations.
Through five games, Gorney has 38 tackles, 9.5 TFL and a sack. Oh, and he also has a touchdown run for good measure.
KEYS TO VICTORY – ADAMS CENTRAL
1. ESTABLISH THE RUN
It is no secret that Adams Central’s M.O. on offense is to run the ball down the throat of an opponent’s defense. Coach Michael Mosser is perfectly content with playing the long game and methodically moving down the field with his running backs shouldering the load.
If the Flying Jets can find success in the rushing attack, it not only takes the pressure off of Black at quarterback, it can also limit the possessions of South Adams, a key in last November’s win.
2. MOVE ARNOLD OUT OF THE POCKET
James Arnold is at his best when he can sit in the pocket, move through his progressions and make a throw. He is not comfortable on the run and is not much of a threat to take off.
So what Adams Central needs to do is collapse the pocket when at all possible. Collier at D-end is just the beginning. He will need help from the bookend and up the middle in making life difficult for Arnold.
If Adams Cenral can achieve that and potentially force a few turnovers in the process, it has a shot.
KEYS TO VICTORY – SOUTH ADAMS
1. STAY ON NEUENSCHWANDER
Adams Central has just one proven downfield threat in wide receiver Nick Neuenschwander. The senior is capable of taking the top off of a defense, particularly off the play action when defenses are sucked in by the run threat.
South Adams must not allow Neuenschwander to break loose and haul down catches for big games. Making Adams Central incapable of picking up chunks of yards will make any sizable Starfires lead insurmountable.
2. ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK
The South Adams passing attack is terrifying. Arnold to the likes of Stutzman, Aidan Wanner, Nick Miller and Treyton Hooch keep opposing coaches up at night.
The Starfires attempted to get downfield last November but could not complete the deep ball that makes them so dangerous. If they can do it on Friday and pick up yards and points in bunches, it will be tough for Adams Central to keep up.