HASTINGS, Neb. — Adams Central running back Jake Fowler and a few of his teammates didn’t want to take their pads off or head to the locker room Tuesday night.
They had to savor one last home victory.
Fowler carried 33 times for 109 yards while fellow seniors Blake Overmiller and Jesse Ackerman came up with a pair of game-changing defensive plays to key the Class C-1 No. 1 Patriots’ 28-7 state quarterfinal win against sixth-ranked Kearney Catholic.
“It’s kind of bittersweet, to be honest with you,” Fowler said. “We know we can’t play at home anymore, but we are excited about the semifinals next week. We plan to savor every moment we can playing together.”
Adams Central will travel to play second-ranked Boone Central/Newman Grove next Tuesday in Albion, with the winner advancing to the finals. They are the lone unbeaten teams remaining in C-1.
The Patriots were clinging to a 14-7 lead when their defense widened the gap in the fourth quarter.
Ackerman intercepted an option pitch from Thomas Connely on the Stars’ first snap in the period and returned it 17 yards for a score. And, in a game where Kearney Catholic managed three first downs through three quarters, Adams Central’s two-score lead seemed insurmountable.
“Jesse made a great play on that option pitch,” Patriots coach Bill Carlin said. “That really got us a ton of momentum and gave us some breathing room. But this was two really, really good teams going at it tonight.
“I take my hat off to Kearney Catholic, they have a tremendous football team.”
Kearney Catholic coach Dave Colling said his team just made too many mistakes against a good team.
“We had some opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on them,” he said. “We did a lot of good things, but there were some key times in the second half where we just made mistakes that we couldn’t make if we wanted to win the game.”
Kearney Catholic (10-1) ................. 7 0 0 0—7
At Adams Central (11-0) ................. 7 0 7 14—28
KC: Abe Clinch 2 run (Chase Murphy kick)
AC: Jake Fowler 1 run (Fowler kick)
AC: Fowler 9 run (Fowler kick)
AC: Jesse Ackerman 17 fumble recovery (Fowler kick)
AC: Fowler 2 run (Fowler kick), 9:20