We got a big answer on Friday night.
The ACAC may be fun. Heritage and Bluffton have looked really good. But Adams Central, it looked far better than good so far this season and Friday night’s 38-0 win over the Patriots solidified that.
It wasn’t a game.
That is zero disrespect to a Heritage team that his led by one of the area’s best football minds in Casey Kolkman and directed by a quarterback in Kobe Meyer that in Weeks 1-4 may have been the best player in the area.
This is in full respect of Adams Central and the speed, power and authority that it rules football games with. The game being 38-0 may make it seem like the Flying Jets were slowed down somewhat, but they weren’t. It was 35-0 at halftime and AC held Meyer to 90 total yards for the game.
While we – all of us – have spent the opening part of the season praising others in the conference and focusing on the questions of if someone can beat Adams Central or how much other teams have (seemingly) narrowed the gap, maybe we have lost focus of the true story: Adams Central doesn’t miss.
And so, it is probably time to stop taking the Flying Jets for granted. Just because the other schools in the ACAC have had good years and deserve the attention they are getting, it doesn’t mean that AC should just be left out. It’s an unfortunate side effect of being so dominant: that we just know what they are going to do so we don’t look at it as deeply. But maybe we weren’t really sure what they were capable of until we saw them against another top ACAC team.
Going into Friday night, we had the question of could a potential contender make things difficult for the Jets, so there was more focus in Monroe. But forget the contenders focus for now, it should just be Adams Central all day.
From the second that Jack Hamilton hit the sideline for a long 71-yard touchdown on Adams Central’s first possession, the feeling started to grow that this one was not going to go Heritage’s way in a pretty significant way. The Flying Jets defense then held the Patriots to a three-and-out that was only saved by the fact that the Patriots were able to recover a blocked punt and rumble for a first down.
Heritage had very few positive looks as the Flying Jets dominated the first half. With 10:30 left in the second, Meyer ran by AC’s defense for a 32-yard touchdown, only for it to be called back on a hold, the Patriots’ fifth penalty at that point in the game.
Other than that, the Flying Jets brought the house, forcing Meyer out of the pocket with throws he normally wouldn’t make, including an interception by Cam Smith and a ball gotten rid of so hastily that the officials had to confer to make sure it was not intentional grounding. Adams Central did not give Heritage any room to breathe.
Was that to prove a point? Or was it just because are so good?
Trevor Currie notched a sack and Drew Kaehr led the way with seven tackles for AC.
Offensively, Adams Central pounded the football on the ground. When it kept it between the hashes, as it has a tendency to do, it was strong. When the Jets hit the edges, they were too speedy for Heritage. Keegan Bluhm, who we’d consider a power back, was often the quickest guy on the field as he scored 11 and 37 yard touchdowns in the first quarter. There was little to no match for Adams Central’s run game. Hamilton ended with 144 yards rushing and Bluhm added 109.
With just less than three minutes to play in the first half, the Jets showed what they can do through the air when Hamilton casually dropped a perfectly-placed ball into the hands of Ryan Tester in the end zone to go up 35-0.
The night belonged to Adams Central. The ACAC still runs directly through Adams County and the Landing Strip. That much we know.
The question as we move forward is how much respect does Adams Central deserve? It is the class of the league right now, and it may not be close. It may very well be a favorite to return to Lucas Oil for a third straight Class 1A state title game. But is Adams Central better than that locally? Is it a top 5 team? A top 3 team?
No matter where they fall from here on out in 2023, make no mistake that the Jets deserve more praise and we certainly should not be taking them for granted anymore.
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