LAFAYETTE – On a cold night in Lafayette, Central Catholic kept Adams Central at bay for most of the night to secure a berth to the Class A state championship with a 24-14 victory Friday.
Adams Central (12-2) struggled to establish push on the offensive line. Central Catholic plugged running holes most of the night and forced outside runs that were mostly unsuccessful.
Central Catholic (11-3) scored first halfway through the first quarter. Adams Central punter and all-purpose man Blake Heyerly was forced to punt from his own endzone on the Jets' first possession. Heyerly mishandled the punt, escaped the endzone to avoid a safety, but was brought down near the goal line.
The Knights pounced on the favorable field position with Evan Munn pushing into the endzone on the first play of the drive for the 3-yard opening score.
“LCC is the real deal and they came out and I think our guys were just a little shell shocked a little bit, it's a little bit different when you got to come here and on the big stage with some sophomore guys that we have.” Adams Central head coach Michael Mosser said. “It takes a while to learn what it really takes to overcome.”
Despite his early mishap, Adams Central relied on Heyerly to carry the offensive load once again. Heyerly gained 86 yards on 28 carries.
His backfield running mate Alex Currie added 71 yards on nine carries.
“They controlled the offense and defensive line quite a bit so that was really tough for us,” Mosser added.
Adams Central’s second turnover of the night, a pick from quarterback Dallas Schwaller, as the first quarter as coming to a close, gave Central Catholic a chance to extend their lead. Joaquin Gallo converted a 36-yard field goal to go up 10-0.
Schwaller’s night continued to be a struggle as he threw a second interception while rolling to the right midway through the second quarter. Central Catholic’s Kyle Onken stepped in front of the pass and gave his offense another chance to increase the advantage.
The Knights did just that as quarterback Clark Barrett connected with senior wide receiver Reece Buche on a fade route near the goal line for a 13-yard score with 3:28 left in the first half.
Barrett had threw for 277 yards and one one touchdown on 12-for-25 passing. His accuracy on intermediate and short throws allowed the Knights to try a multitude of screens and quick passes that Adams Central struggled to defend.
However, the Knights' most productive player was Ty Schrader, who had missed the last game recovering from an injury. Schrader rushed for 108 yards on 22 carries and caught five passes for 117 yards.
“Being able to get a stop and the score right off the bat in the second half was was absolutely huge,” Central Catholic Brian Nay said after the game. “I think it's what really propelled us to be able to hold on tonight.”
Despite facing a 24-point halftime deficit, Adams Central finally broke through as the third quarter was coming to a close when Blake Heyerly scored on a 4-yard inside run. A failed two-point conversion helped the Knights maintain a 24-6 lead.
Despite getting one red zone stop when they intercepted a pass Knights quarterback Barrett from the goal line, the Jets failed to string together more than a few positive plays on the ground.
They were able to cut into the lead as Schwaller connected with Ben Voirol on a 13-yard score with 3:40 left in the game. The Jets converted the two-point conversion, but the Knights were able to run out the clock. Voirol ended the night with three catches for 82 yards and the score.
“There's history here,” Nay said about his program. “It’s what I feel like this I feel like this community deserves because just how amazing it is. And these kids, they they work so hard, and they love each other and they bleed for each other.”
Central Catholic will play Indianapolis Lutheran in the championship game Nov. 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Knights have won state championship in their past six appearances and seven times in total.