The Adams Central Jets will be playing the biggest game of their lives Friday when they take on Class A No. 1 Indianapolis Lutheran in the hopes of securing the school's second state football title and first since 2000.
The second-ranked Jets (13-1) have not been truly challenged in the last four weeks of the postseason, outscoring their opponents 188-10 starting with the sectional semifinal.
But long before Adams Central became a postseason juggernaut, the Jets' seniors helped contribute to some surprising wins, beating an Eastside team in 2019 that would go on to reach the Class 2A regional finals and upsetting their archrival, then-No. 1 South Adams, in a memorable Class A regional title game.
“In 2019, the seniors on this team were sophomores, and we, going into that season, did not think we would be very good,” Adams Central coach Michael Mosser said. “And yet those sophomores contributed to a team with a couple juniors and five seniors, and we ended up going to semistate that year. And beating South Adams in the regional was probably the most formative game these kids were part of, being extreme underdogs.
“I would say South Adams was probably better that year than they were (in 2020, when they reached the state title game), and they should have made it. That gave this team so much confidence, to play and win a regional.”
Senior Adams Central running back Blake Heyerly scored all three touchdowns in that 19-7 regional win, which avenged a 28-point loss to the Starfires in the regular season. The Jets outrushed South Adams 214-38, and Adams Central gobbled up the clock with long touchdown drives.
Senior receiver and defensive back Joshua Mosser,coach Michael Mosser's son, described that regional win as the biggest in his class's history, aside from the semistate win over North Judson.
“(South Adams was) probably favored to make it to or win state, and we weren't a very good team. But somehow we had a really good offensive scheme and we were ready to go out and win the game,” Josh Mosser said.
The Jets hoped for another postseason meeting with South Adams in 2020, but they were eliminated by Southwood in the sectional finals, giving them extra motivation for this season.
Adams Central's most recent loss, 21-19 to Eastside (13-1) in Week 2, might have been the learning experience that showed the Jets that they can, in Michael Mosser's words, be slain by the right opponent.
“That really woke us up to what we need to fix, and that we're still a team that can lose,” senior receiver and defensive back Nick Neuenschwander said. “It really opened our eyes; we have to go out there and keep playing hard and limit our mistakes.”
The Jets rebounded from the loss to Eastside with a 35-0 win over No. 3 Parke Heritage. But the biggest challenge in the second half of the season came in their 25-15 sectional-opening win over Churubusco.
“I didn't sleep for two weeks,” Michael Mosser said of his reaction to learning the Jets had drawn the Eagles to start the playoffs. “All of us were that way. It was a very nerve-wracking time, because we know Busco well, and we know what kind of team they had. They're a lot like Eastside – they are going to be physical, and they are going to attack. They gave us everything that they got. I think we learned that when it gets into the nitty-gritty, we can go to the trenches and we can go behind our hogs and move the ball.”
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