PARKER CITY – As the steady snow drizzle increased, Parker Bates stood in the end zone with his teammates, celebrating Adams Central's 38-12 regional championship win over Monroe Central on Friday night.
“Let's get the next one. We want it more,” Bates said to the team.
In Adams Central's 13th win of the season – the first time a Flying Jets team has won that many – the senior quarterback put on his most dominant performance of the year.
“Honestly, I'm confident,” Bates said, already thinking towards next week's game against also undefeated Pioneer. “I want to beat them as much as the next guy. It means a lot more to us than it does to them. They already got a state title, we want one now.”
Bates, possessing a spirited, confident and boisterous personality, has the stats to back it up. He rushed 15 times for 91 yards, notched four rushing touchdowns and his one pass of the game went for a touchdown.
“He just takes the bull by the horns and goes,” coach Michael Mosser said. “Of all the seniors, he's the most flamboyant of them all. He's probably the one that most teams don't like because he's just flamboyant, but that's him and we allow him to do that.”
With 8:40 left in the first quarter, Bates danced the ball into the end zone from 6 yards out. The powerful running of Monroe Central's Seth Wilson gave the Flying Jets a bit of a scare when he broke free for an 89-yard touchdown run on the Golden Bears' first play from scrimmage.
“I was like 'oh crap ,we're in for one tonight,'” Bates said. “They punched us in the face, but we stayed calm and took care of their punches and fought back.”
Monroe Central's 2-point conversion failed, securing Adams Central's lead. Bates added a rushing touchdown from 5 yards out and from 1 yard out before the end of the first half. A 20-yard field goal from the reliable Bailea Sprunger gave the Jets a 24-12 lead at the half.
Monroe Central's freshman quarterback Jaxson Ulom tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Logan Patterson in the second quarter. The 2-point attempt was again no good and the Golden Bears (10-3) didn't score again.
Like much of the season, the Jets' running game ran right over the Golden Bears. But Monroe Central's defense held Logan Macklin, now within single digits of breaking the program's all-time rushing record, in check.
“You might think we're one-dimensional, but we're really not. We've got four guys that can run,” Bates said. “I couldn't have had the game I did if I didn't have the other guys in the backfield. If they take one thing away you got three more.”
Bates, along with Jalen Hammond and Colton Yergler picked up the slack, leaving Monroe Central in their dust. Macklin still rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries, Hammond 96 yards on 16 carries and Yergler 51 yards on four carries.
The Jets are aiming for history, and the school's second football state title, but this time, they're the underdog.
“We celebrate tonight, but then the work really begins,” Mosser said. “This is the first time all year where we're not predicted to win. It's going to take everything we have to beat them.”