Eastside-Adams Central has been a measuring-stick game both teams for a few years now. And Friday night’s result, a 25-21 victory for Adams Central, showed that both teams are good.
Check that, really good.
The Flying Jets were just a hair better this time around in this non-conference battle, but the Blazers proved they’ll be a tough out every week the rest of the way.
“Anytime you beat Eastside it’s big,” Adams Central coach Michael Mosser said. “This is something that both teams circle (on the schedule).”
The Flying Jets quickly got on the board with 25-yard field goal from Trevor Currie, set up by a 60-yard kickoff return from Jack Hamilton.
Then, the Blazers took control and pushed Adams Central around with its big offense line. They opened up gaping holes for Briar Munsey, Dax Holman and Carsen Jacobs to run through.
“We weren’t playing aggressively as we needed to,” Mosser said. “They were losing their heads on some plays, and Eastside was mashing us in the face and taking us down.”
Eastside drove down into Flying Jet territory, converting on three third downs. Once at the 20, Jacobs was picked off by Cam Smith. But on the next play, Adams Central gave it right back with a fumble recovered by Holman, who took it down to the five. On 4th and 1, Holman punched it for the score.
The Blazers looked like they were going to run away after Jacobs picked off Ryan Black and took it to the house to put Eastside up 14-3 early in the second.
Eastside defense stifled Adams Central once again and were about to make it a three-score game headed into halftime, but the Jets’ defense got a huge stop on fourth down at their own 28 with 3:12 left in the half.
Black redeemed himself and threw a beautiful ball on the run to Hamilton, who made the over-the-shoulder catch and sprinted to the end zone for the 56-yard score.
“Ryan has been up and down through the years. His sophomore year he would have crawled into a hole. His senior year, he’s taken it by the reigns,” Mosser said. “There’s the bigger difference. He knew he made mistakes and he’s able now to bounce that off of him and come back and fight. And he’s really shown some good senior leadership.”
Turnovers kept rearing their ugly head for both teams. On the opening drive of the second half, an Eastside fumble was recovered by Adams Central freshman Cameron Fravel, who made several big plays on defense.
Black threw a dart to Ryan Tester in the end zone on the next play, and Adams Central retook the lead 17-14.
It was up Jacobs to put the team on his back and march Eastside down the field. The senior picked up a few first downs with his feet and his arm. He hit Kolt Gerke for a crucial first down on 4th and 3, then the duo connected again for a touchdown to put Eastside back in front 21-17. Jacobs led the Blazers in rushing with 108 yards on 22 carries. Munsey ended up with 82 yards on 20 rushes.
This was the only drive Eastside was truly able to finish off. Their previous two were off turnovers.
Adams Central’s defense kept Eastside at bay even without its top defender, Gavin Cook. He was out due to illness and a knee injury. But the younger guys stepped up, including sophomore Drew Kaehr and Fravel.
“I think they rose to the occasion,” Mosser said.
The Flying Jets were finally able to crack through the middle of Eastside’s defense with Keegan Bluhm, who was held in check for most of the night. Bluhm made a couple of big, short-yardage runs to keep the offense on the field in the fourth quarter. He helped Adams Central get into the red zone where Black found Max Hamilton for his third touchdown pass of the night. The two-point try was good putting the Jets up 25-21.
Eastside tried to mount another drive to retake the lead, but the defense of Adams Central held up once again.
However, a quick three-and-out was going to give the Blazers the ball back with just over a minute to go. But Eastside never got the chance after it muffed a punt that was recovered by Adams Central.
Black finished 9-of-18 for 150 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
“I feel like it sets us up good because this is the hardest football team we’ll play. They’re really physical like us,” Black said. “I’m hoping we have a lot of weeks of football left.”
The way both teams played on Friday, there should be plenty of football to keep both teams busy deep into November.