INDIANAPOLIS – Adams Central led by 14 on two different occasions in the first half, but couldn’t hold on in the second half Friday as they fell 34-28 to Indianapolis Lutheran in the Class 1A state title game.
The noon kickoff led to a fun, over three hour game that saw a lot of ebb and flow between the two teams.
In the end though, it was Lutheran who had the last big play with less than two minutes to go to get the win late.
It didn’t take long for the Flying Jets to attack the edge in the first half however for an early advantage. On. the first play, Nick Neuenschwander scurried for 21 yards, then again for a first down and finally out and down to the two yard line. Blake Heyerly powered in the first touchdown from there just 1:48 into the game. It took Adams Central just seven plays two reach pay dirt first.
It was Neuenschwander’s speed that was big for the second touchdown too. After an Alex Currie pass break up forced Lutheran to punt the ball away on their first possession of the game, Neuenschwander returned it 59 yards for a touchdown and the Flying Jets led by 14 less than halfway through the first quarter. That return set a Class 1A state finals record.
Micah Mackay hauled in a pass on fourth down during Lutheran’s next possession to get them on the scoreboard. Adams Central had a touchdown called back for a block in the back late in the first but capitalized the firs time they had it in the second quarter on another Heyerly two yard rush. Lutheran capitalized on a Neuenschwander fumble late in the half; Jake Pasch ran in it from six yards with less than 30 seconds to go to send the game to the locker room 21-14 in the Flying Jets’ favor.
With nine minutes left in the third, Lutheran tied the game at 21 on A 30 yard connection between Montasi Clay and Pasch. Lutheran forced a three and out, but Adams Central fought back by forcing a punt themselves on the next Saints drive that went down to the 19 yard line. Then, with 3:06 left. in the third, Lutheran pulled out a first down 71 yard pass to Mackay to give Lutheran their first lead of the game. On the very next Adams Central play, Mackay stepped in an intercepted a pass that was returned or an eventually called back touchdown. Lutheran got nowhere, stopped on fourth down of that drive with first contact by AC’s Ryan Black.
The Flying Jets faced a fourth and four early in the fourth quarter but a play action pass from Black went right through Joshua Mosser’s arms as the Saints took over with 11:13 left in the game. As Lutheran was driving, Neuenschwander picked off a jump ball pass and and returned it 60 yards to set the Flying Jets up deep in Lutheran territory inside of 10 minutes left in the game. Their first three plays went bad though with field position going from first and goal from the four to fourth and goal from the 22 as Lutheran’s defense shined. Adams Central ultimately came up empty on a pass from Black intended for Braysen Yergler.
With Lutheran charging on second down in the fourth, Jimmy Davis was pushing the Lutheran pile past first down when Ryan Tester stripped the ball away, allowing the Flying Jets to stay alive as their defense made yet another play. It led to Heyerly’s third touchdown of the game – this one from three yards out – with 3:26 to play; Trevor Currie added the extra point to even the game up at 28.
With 1:13 to play, Clay escaped the pocket and ran it in from 12 yards out, pushing away the Flying Jets defense for his fourth touchdown of the day. A failed extra point though left the door open as Lutheran led 34-38 as Zac Wurm got a hand on the kick for Adams Central. It gave the Flying Jets the ball with 1:13 to play and one timeout left. But it was Lutheran’s Brian Shelby picking off a twice tipped pass with 1 minute to play that sealed the deal for the Saints.