The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, November 26, 2021 1:00 am

Jets' defense faces stiff test

Lutheran quarterback dangerous through air, on run

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

No Indiana football team has given up fewer points per game this season than Adams Central.

The Jets (13-1) are allowing 4.7 points per game with seven shutouts, well ahead of Monroe Central, the next-most stingy team at 5.91 points per game. 

But none of the teams the Jets have faced offer quite as much of a challenge as Indianapolis Lutheran (14-0), who Adams Central will play for the Class A state title at noon today. The Jets will be seeking their first state title since the 2000 championship won in their only previous finals appearance.

The No. 1 Saints (14-0) hope to bring home the team's first state title after losing 29-28 to Lafayette Central Catholic in 2019. 

“The style of play is very similar to what we've seen before, teams like South Adams, like Parke Heritage and Eastside. ... But I don't think we've seen anyone as fast. Their speed is a big deal,” Adams Central coach Michael Mosser said. “We have some speed on our team as well, I think this is the fastest team I have coached in my years as the head coach. But (speed) is hard to see on film, and we've not seen them in person. Is our speed going to match with theirs? I'm not sure.”

That speed starts with quarterback Montasi Clay. The senior has completed 115 of 158 pass attempts (72.8%) for 2,385 yards (170.4 per game), throwing 29 touchdowns and just five interceptions. His two favorite targets this season have been junior Micah Mackay (37 receptions for 836 yards and 11 touchdowns, with a long of 71), and senior Jake Pasch (28 catches for 643 yards and seven touchdowns with a long of 81).

And Clay is just as formidable on the ground: He has 1,856 rushing yards on 210 carries (for an average of 8.9 yards a carry and 134.6 yards a game) and scored 32 rushing touchdowns. Junior running back Joe Davis is another threat, picking up 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns on 172 carries, for an average of 85.5 yards per game. 

“We want to be as balanced as possible, and it comes back to accountability. Everyone has to do their own job. Montasi Clay is certainly at the center of what we do offensively,” said Indianapolis Lutheran coach Dave Pasch. “He's a 2,300-yard passer and approaching 2,000 rushing. But none of that happens without Joe Davis there, all the receivers, the offensive line.”

Pasch said that the Saints defense will get a slight break in preparing for Adams Central's Wing-T offense after preparing for Tri's similar offense for the semistate round. 

“Really, it impacts us from a practice standpoint, because it's such a difficult offense to replicate,” Pasch said. “Our young players have been having their own practices, just to replicate what Adams Central can do.”

Mosser said the Jets don't mind passing the ball a little bit – junior quarterback Ryan Black has completed 60.2% of his passes this season for 62.2 yards per game, throwing 11 touchdowns and one interception, and Mosser described him as the team's most improved player this season. But don't expect the Flying Jets to air the ball out today.

“If you see us passing a whole lot, things are not going well,” Mosser said. “The Eastside game, we passed for 200 yards and lost. We're not excited about that. ... We will go into spread, and we have used spread several times. We practice it an awful lot, we just don't use it because it's not who we are.”

Many of the Adams Central players said the Eastside game, which they narrowly lost 21-19 in Week 2, will be their most useful frame of reference heading into today's championship game, since the Blazers offense revolved around Laban Davis in much the same way the Saints rely on Clay.

“Defensively, we have to shut down their quarterback, who is really good a scrambling,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Joshua Mosser. “We've got to keep him in the pocket and make him pass.”

vjacobsen@jg.net 

Class A state Finals

Adams Central (13-1) vs. Indianapolis Lutheran (14-0)

When: Noon Friday

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Tickets: $15, ages 5 and younger free; must be bought online at Ticketmaster.com

TV: Bally Sports Indiana; viewers outside coverage area can watch livestream at IHSAAtv.org


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