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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, October 28, 2017 1:00 am

Adams Central 17 Churubusco 14

Big back leads Jets to next round

Josh Patterson | For The Journal Gazette

CHURUBUSCO – Throughout the press box Friday night in Churubusco, whenever Drew Schultz carried the ball for Adams Central, spotters didn't call out his jersey number as is customary.

They simply called him “Big Boy.”

The Flying Jets' 6-foot-2, 240-pound fullback lived up to that moniker in Adams Central's 17-14 Class A Sectional 43 semifinal victory, scoring twice on runs of 37 and 30 yards.

Schultz also caught a 31-yard pass in the second quarter's waning moments, setting up Bailea Sprunger's 23-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer that just eked over the crossbar.

“That was monumental,” Schultz said. “We had the momentum coming out after the field goal.”

Sprunger's kick left the No. 9 Flying Jets (9-2) flying high at the break, especially when considering Adams Central would receive the second-half kickoff. It took just five plays – the same number of plays No. 7 Churubusco (9-2) would run in all of the third quarter – for Schultz to score his second touchdown.

His run, a 30-yard rumble on 3rd-and-1, put the visitors up 17-7, although it might not have even been the most impressive feat of the quarter for Adams Central. After forcing a three-and-out, the Jets ran a 16-play drive that bled 7:33 off the clock.

While the drive didn't produce points, it did silence the home crowd and gave a sense of foretelling the final result.

“That's always the game plan,” Schultz said. “At Adams Central, the offense drains the clock and the defense wins championships.”

Churubusco wasn't about to go away quietly, responding with its own 16-play drive, with Tom Richards' 3-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-2 bringing the hosts within 17-14.

The Eagles' defense then forced a three-and-out, regaining possession at midfield with 4:40 remaining. But the drive moved backward, leaving coach Paul Sade two options on 4th-and-19 – try to pick up the first down, or punt the ball away.

“I felt like we don't have a lot of plays in our offense to (go 20 yards), so we let our defense play and see if we could get a stop,” Sade said.

Schultz had other ideas. Of Adams Central's final eight plays, the so-called “Big Boy” ran the ball seven times, coming up big in the game's biggest moments once again.

“Drew was huge,” Adams Central coach Michael Mosser said. “We knew we were going to have to pound it, and he just stepped it up and got it done. He was big for us early on, big for us right at the end of half, and right at the end when we needed him, he got it done. That's the type of player he is.”

The Flying Jets will play host to Southwood on Friday for the sectional championship in a rematch of last year's regional. After facing the run-heavy Churubusco offense, a much different challenge awaits Adams Central in Knights quarterback Carson Blair, who has thrown 51 touchdowns this season compared with just two interceptions.

“Blair is a darned good quarterback,” Mosser said. We have to get our offense going, and we have to be able to score points to counter them scoring points.”