PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Defense propels Adams Central; freshman QB settling in with Concordia

Concordia's Kamari Anderson-Drew has been big security blanket for freshman quarterback Brandon Davis the last three games. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Adams Central's defense has been stout for most of the season. It will have to be Friday night against a prolific Southwood passing attack. (News-Sentinel file photo)

A strong offense and rushing attack has propelled Adams Central throughout the season. Last Friday night against Churubusco though, it was the defense that came through when the Flying Jets needed it most in the 17-14 victory.

The defense stuffed a fourth down from the one-yard line early in the game. Then, after the Eagles pulled to within three points and stopped Adams Central offense to get the ball back, the Flying Jets defense responded again to shut down the Eagles’ offense.

“At the end, our offense was stymied and we couldn’t punch it in on our end, and our defense had to do it and win it for us and they really did,” Adams Central coach Michael Mosser said. “Jalen Hammond played a whale of a game, Tyler Lafontaine and our secondary really played hard as well … and I really feel like it was our defense that won it for us, they’ve been playing really well.”

Adams Central’s defense now has to prepare for a proficient passing attack in the sectional championship against Southwood. The Flying Jets are adept at facing rushing teams, but must now prep for a rematch of last year’s regional victory. Southwood is averaging 317 yards passing a game behind senior quarterback Connor Blair, who has thrown 51 passing touchdowns against just two interceptions.

“We’ve had a game, Week 3 against Lapel, that was a pretty good indicator of the passing game, and we struggled with that,” Mosser said. “This quarterback, Connor Blair, is going to be good and we can’t let him scramble. He’s good in the pocket, but even better when he gets out of the pocket. Our secondary has a huge challenge ahead.”

FRESHMAN QB DAVIS IMPRESSIVE FOR CADETS

After losing starting quarterback Jake Byrd and backup Jacob Doerffler to injuries in the second half of the regular season, Concordia didn’t have much time to find a solution. The Cadets turned to freshman Brandon Davis and he has produced through his three games.

The rookie QB led the Cadets to a 32-0 victory last Friday against Lakeland, including a strong connection with wide receiver Kamari Anderson-Drew, who finished with 106 receiving yards.

“His most impressive trait so far is his composure,” Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said. “It’s tough to get thrown into that situation, and as a freshman he had played some at the reserve level, but none of that compares to the varsity level and he’s really done just about everything we’ve asked him to do.”

It has also helped that Concordia has a strong rushing attack behind its offensive line with Marcus Morrow. The running back ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns in the game against Lakeland.

“With the injury to Jake (Byrd), we really challenged the offense, everyone on the offensive line that we were going to need them to pick up a little slack here,” Mannigel said. “Through three games, those guys have more or less responded to that challenge and the challenge is going to get steeper as we move into a sectional championship game.”

OFFENSE TAKES CENTRAL NOBLE TO SECTIONAL FINAL

It’s been a few years since Central Noble has found itself in a sectional final. The last time the Cougars made it this far in the postseason was 2002 when they won the program’s only sectional championship. That history isn’t something the team is talking about yet, though.

“That’s an accolade we’ll talk about when the season is over, because our goal in the beginning of the season, before we ever started, as to take one team at a time and try to get better every week,” Central Noble coach Greg Moe said. “The presence of being there is not what we are looking for, but the whole idea behind what we’re trying to do is get better and win every week.”

The Cougars will be heading to the championship thanks to a strong offensive effort this postseason. The team has totaled 110 points in its two wins behind a strong rushing attack led by Breon Burgess and Braxton Dial. Central Noble will need its rushing duo to play well against Woodlan to come home with the school’s second sectional championship.

“They (Woodlan) are more talented than we are, they have better athletes than we have, so we have to play as hard and aggressive as we can and play mistake free and hopefully our young people step up to the challenge of playing a team better than them,” Moe said. “Not all the time do the best teams win because different people have different ideas of what they want to do, so if we are going to step up to the plate and play football, hopefully we can give ourselves a chance in the second half to have a chance to win.”

QUICK HITS

Summit Athletic Conference teams have went a combined 7-0 vs. the Northeast 8, Allen County Athletic Conference and Northeast Corner Conference this postseason. Its lone postseason loss to a non-conference opponent was North Side vs. Elkhart Memorial of the Northern Lakes Conference…Snider is playing in its 18th straight sectional final. The last time the Panthers did not make the final was in 1999…Bishop Luers is playing in its 11th straight sectional championship game. The last time the Knights did not make the final was 2006…Angola is playing for its first sectional championship since 1992.

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