Prep football preseason countdown: #11 ADAMS CENTRAL FLYING JETS

Adams Central's Colton Yergler tackles Woodlan's Amarion Hicks during a Friday, October 13, 2017 game in Monroe. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Adams Central running back Jalen Hammond leaps to try avoiding the tackle of South Adams’ Nick Miller in a game last September. (By Blake Sebring of news-sentinel.com)

OUTLOOK

After putting together 12-2, 11-2 and 9-3 marks the last three seasons, Adams Central has a chance to put together the best four-year run in Adams Central history with 12 wins or more to match the mark of 44 wins from 1997-2000. The defending Allen County Athletic Conference champions would also like to win back-to-back league titles for the first time since 1994-95.

This team is also loaded with seniors, with only two juniors and a few sophomores expected to play.

OFFENSE

Everything starts with Logan Macklin, who rushed for 1,542 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior last year on 153 attempts as part of the Jets’ “Thunder and Lightning” backfield with the graduated Drew Schultz.

“We have to be smart about using him because everybody in their right mind is going to know where he is,” Adams Central coach Michael Mosser said. “They are all going to be thinking if they can stop him, they have a chance. I’m fine with that, but we have to be smart about decoying him and getting the ball to these other guys. We have to get Logan open in space. He’s just a great athlete and a great kid.”

Parker Bates takes over at quarterback and Jalen Hammond and Colton Yergler will be the other running backs. Though the Jets haven’t been known for throwing the ball much in recent years, Bates has a strong arm and should get a few more chances this season.

With the exception of all-conference lineman Jashawn Berlanga, center Brady Girod and guard Ryan Byerly, the offensive line has to rebuild some. There’s not a lot of size other than the 270-pound Girod.

“The last few years we had some beef and power, but this year we have to use our quickness,” Mosser said. “We had Drew Schultz and we could power, power, power, but we won’t be able to do that this year as much.”

The top receivers are Mason Gledhill, Chase Peterson, Will Hamilton and Noah Bollenbacher, all seniors who haven’t had chances to catch many balls before in their careers.

“We’re just going to have to do things differently,” Mosser said. “We’re going to have to throw the ball, and we haven’t had to do that much. Our guys from last year have really grown up. It’s going to be interesting to see where we’re able to put everybody and see if we can move the ball.”

The Jets were used to playing this style before Schultz started dominating.

One big advantage the Jets have is in kicker Bailea Sprunger, a second-team all-conference pick last year. She’s reliable on extra points and field goals, and a solid kicker is sometimes a luxury for a Class 1A school.

Macklin will continue returning kicks with help from Yergler who should see a lot of action.

DEFENSE

Hammond, a linebacker, and Bates, a defensive back, were both first-team all-ACAC selections last year, and they’ll have to lead a revamped defense. Chase Peterson was a second-team all-conference selection, and Macklin is also exceptional on this side of the ball, making the all-area team last year with 102 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss.

Hammond was one of the conference’s top tacklers last year. He’ll get help at linebacker from Berlanga, Ryan Byerly and Macklin. The secondary is led by Bates, Peterson, Mason Gledhill and Logan Mosser. Jason Collier is a sophomore, but he’s the only player up front with returning experience.

ABOUT THE FLYING JETS

2017 record: 9-3

2017 storyline: Started 1-2 but won eight in a row to claim the ACAC title before losing to Southwood 50-27 in the sectional championship game.

Coach: Michael Mosser (67-39 in 10th season)

KEY LOSSES

DL Tyler Lafontaine, DL (1st Team All-ACAC)

DL Chandler Schumm, DL (1st Team All-ACAC)

RB/LB Drew Schultz, RB/LB (1st Team All-ACAC)

OL Nathaniel Quinones, OL (2nd Team All-ACAC)

THE COUNTDOWN

#12 Angola Hornets

#13 South Adams Starfires

#14 Woodlan Warriors

#15 Northrop Bruins

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