BLITZ: Big plays cost Adams Central in epic Class 1A championship game

Adams Central Blake Heyerly walks off the field after the Flying Jets lost to the Indianapolis Lutheran Saints 34-28 in the Class A state championship game on Friday, Nov. 26, at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photo by Chad Ryan)

INDIANAPOLIS – The fans came out in droves, making the drive from in and around tiny Monroe to watch Adams Central in just its second state title game in history.

They were treated to an exceptional football game with a supreme effort from the Flying Jets.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

The 34-28 loss to Lutheran at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday showed that Adams Central belonged on the biggest stage in high school football in the state. But the difference was a collection of individual plays that were magnified over the course of four quarters.

Lutheran triumphed not because of the old, tired private v. public debate. It captured the program’s first-ever state championship because it executed in the moments it mattered most.

For the game, the Saints had eight “big” plays, defined as 10-plus rushing yards or 15-plus passing yards, six of which came in the second half.

They included:

  • A 32-yard strike from Montasi Clay to Micah Mackay on fourth down that got Lutheran on the board late in the first after Adams Central got out to a 14-0 lead.
  • A 30-yard score from Clay to Jake Pasch on the opening drive of the second half that tied the game.
  • A 71-yard touchdown pass from Clay to Micah Mackay in the third quarter gave Lutheran its first lead of the game.
  • A 50-yard bomb from Clay to Brandon Brooks on 3rd-and-17 that set up Lutheran’s winning score.

Overall, Adams Central played Lutheran even. The Flying Jets actually handled the Saints for the majority of the first half.

But it were the few plays in which Lutheran was able to pick up chunk plays that doomed Coach Michael Mosser’s squad.

Adams Central’s Alex Currie tries to stiff arm Indianapolis Lutheran Saints defensive end Kam Patterson on a run in the fourth quarter of the Flying Jets’ 34-28 loss in the Class A state championship game on Friday, Nov. 26, at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photo by Chad Ryan)

“Lutheran really gave us fits in the second half,” Mosser said. “We got a couple breaks but couldn’t score, and then that long pass at the end was a dagger.”

The Flying Jets (13-2) went toe-to-toe with a Lutheran squad that was assumed, by those in and around Indianapolis, would roll to a 1A title. Instead, Adams Central led by double digits at the half, scored on three of their first four possessions and led entering the fourth.

Yet it was Lutheran who executed late. The Flying Jets scored on three of their first four possessions, but reached paydirt on just one of its final eight possessions.

Adams Central was able to get prime field position early in the fourth when Nick Neuenschwander, who returned a punt for a touchdown in the first half, picked off Clay and took it back inside the 5-yard line. But the Flying Jets only went backwards from then and turned the ball over on downs.

However, Ryan Tester was able to avenge that when he took the ball away from Lutheran in a rugby scrum, setting up the tying score with 3:26 left in the game when Blake Heyerly scored for the third time.

But the 50-yard strike on the ensuing drive set up Clay’s 12-yard scamper for the winning points.

Blitz hates ending the season on a loss, but is thankful that he saw a great game. Adams Central and its community should be proud of its effort.

In the end, big plays kill.

These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH

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