For the first time in 21 years, the Flying Jets of Adams Central (13-1) are competing for a state championship.
The foe at high noon on Friday is undefeated Indianapolis Lutheran (14-0), one of the best programs in the Indy area regardless of class.
How does this matchup look? Let’s break it down.
1. SPEED, SPEED, SPEED
Lutheran will be the most athletic and quick team that Adams Central will face all year, and it is not really close. The burners in the ACAC hardly compare to what the Saints can employ offensively.
How do the Flying Jets combat that speed? Can they hang downfield with the wealth of playmakers that Lutheran can put on the field? Will AC be able to find some plays of their own downfield with its top offensive talents?
2. TOP BILLING
These are the top two 1A teams in the state per the Sagarin Ratings and the lone 1A programs in the top 85 in Indiana.
interestingly, Sagarin has Adams Central ranked a nudge above Lutheran at No. 34 compared to No. 39 in the state.
There is no doubt that these are the best 1A teams facing off for the state championship. It is a matchup many have foreseen for months.
3. REPPING THE 260
While Lutheran is one of several Indy-area schools competing this weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium, Adams Central is the lone representative from northeast Indiana.
The Flying Jets will try to become just the second area program in five years to win a state crown. Only Bishop Dwenger in 2018 has captured the big trophy representing the region over the course of the last five seasons.
Interestingly, the area has not won a 1A title since Southern Wells in 2001.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
MONTASI CLAY, LUTHERAN
We love Laban Davis here at OTH, but Clay presents the biggest challenge AC has seen all year at the quarterback position.
The senior has thrown for close to 2,400 yards on the season and rushed for over 1,800 more. He has accounted for 61 total touchdowns. At 6-foot, 190 pounds he is strong, tough to bring down and incredibly elusive. Adams Central must find ways to prevent Clay from carving up the defense.
KEEGAN BLUHM, ADAMS CENTRAL
The sophomore has already played in a lot of big games in his prep career, but none bigger than Friday at LOS.
The Flying Jets are going to spy on Clay on most plays, and Bluhm may get that responsibility at times. He leads the team with 16.5 tackles for loss and has great instincts at linebacker. He may prove to be the difference between a short gain and a long run for Clay when he decides to run.
JAKE PASCH, LUTHERAN
Adams Central will likely have to go to the air a bit more than usual in this one, as the running lanes will not b e as fruitful as the majority of the season.
That’s not to say AC will abandon the run, but it has to be a balanced offense to keep Lutheran off balance.
Pasch is one of the Saints’ leading receivers, but his biggest impact is on defense where he leads the team in tackles. He can drop in covereage and play close to the line of scrimmage against the run. Expect him to be around the ball a lot.
RYAN BLACK, ADAMS CENTRAL
Black has been overshadowed for the majority of the season, but his decision making and playmaking ability will need to be on point against Lutheran.
Black has actually scored 28 touchdowns this season between the rush and pass, and has thrown just a single INT all year. The junior QB must have a sensational game for AC.
KEY TO VICTORY – LUTHERAN
CLAY, CLAY AND MORE CLAY
If Adams Central cannot contain Clay, it can’t win, pure and simple.
While the Flying Jets are allowing less than five points per game and have surrendered a TOTAL of just eight touchdowns all year, Friday’s test is by far its biggest of the season.
Clay is the best individual player that Coach Michael Mosser’s team will face all season. How it is able to handle him will go a long way towards deciding this one.
KEY TO VICTORY – ADAMS CENTRAL
CONTROL THE BALL
Limiting Clay is of paramount importance, and the offense can help out with that by putting together long, sustained drives. An offensive track meet where the teams trade scores is not ideal for AC. While the Fltying Jets can score, Lutheran has the more dynamic offense.
The Flying Jets will be best served by keeping the ball out of the hands of Clay and eating up clock while putting points on the board.
This is a different kind of test for Adams Central. Most of its foes have been straightforward and tried to bull their way through the Flying Jets. But the athleticism and quickness of Lutheran is a whole different challenge altogether.
This may be a homer pick, in fact, it really is. But this Adams Central team has been building towards this game for over two years, ever since it went young with a loaded sophomore class, now seniors.
Clay puts up big numbers, but AC has enough of a response to pull one out late.
BLITZ’S 1A STATE TITLE PICK: Adams Central 29, Lutheran 26