In Friday’s battle of Class C-1 powerhouses, it kept looking like whichever team had the ball last would win.
That’s exactly what happened as the game between Adams Central and St. Paul reached its exciting overtime finish.
St. Paul won the game when Tommy Wroblewski raced nine yards on a sweep, as the No. 3 Wildcats nipped the No. 5 Patriots in double overtime, 26-20.
Both teams struggled when they had the ball. It was only 7-0 at halftime, with AC owning the slim lead.
St. Paul got stopped cold in the first half against a wall-like Patriot defense. AC stopped all five St. Paul offensive series in the first half.
“It was a struggle all night, offensively, for us to be consistent. But St. Paul is one of the top teams in the state. You are going to have those struggles when you play somebody like this,” said AC coach Shawn Mulligan.
The teams produced 20 points in extra periods after battling it out with their ground games and with defenses that seemed to fly to the ball faster and hit harder than they would against lesser opponents.
A highlight of the contest was the play of Adams Central freshman quarterback Jayden Teichmeier, who was forced to enter the game in overtime because all the other Patriot signal callers were out of action.
“Our senior quarterback got hurt. Our junior quarterback came in for a series and got hurt. Our sophomore is in quarantine. And so, freshman up,” Mulligan said. “He did a great job. He was very calm and relaxed.”
Teichmeier thrilled the home crowd with a four-yard touchdown bootleg run that helped tie the game. Tyler Slechta’s extra point kick knotted the game at 20-all.
“This was just a naked boot,” Mulligan explained. “Actually there were two people that knew he was going to carry the ball on that play, and that was me and Jayden.”
The Patriots tried to take the lead in overtime by sending Slechta out for an 18-yard field goal attempt. But the kick skimmed low.
St. Paul’s winning touchdown took only two plays to happen. Wroblewski dove for the end zone, barely skimming the corner pylon.
“We didn’t set the edge very well over there. But my hat goes off to St. Paul,” Mulligan said.
The Adams Central defense had to contend with the powerful and fleet-footed Eli Larson, who as a running back entered the game with more than 1,000 yards rushing.
Larson pounded the rock over the goal line for two touchdowns.
“Larson just kind of controlled the middle on us. He is very physical and fast,” Mulligan said. “He kind of owned the run game, and we were very inconsistent in our passing game. But we made some plays and had the opportunity to win.”
The game began with Adams Central racking up the first score.
After forcing a St. Paul punt, the Patriots went into quick-strike mode.
Quarterback Cam Foster chucked a sideline pass to the swift wideout Drew Bonifas at the Patriots’ 47 yard line. From there, Bonifas quick-stepped it all the way down the sideline for a touchdown.
The game’s scoring then went dormant until Larson’s first touchdown, a 25-yard run late in the third quarter.
Adams Central countered with Slechta’s 34-yard TD reception with 1:32 left in the third quarter. Foster threw the bootleg pass that found Slechta wide open in the end zone.
AC’s Hyatt Collins had another busy night toting the football. He carried 23 times for 106 yards. Foster completed four passes for 91 yards.
STP (7-1)...............0 0 7 6 13 — 26
AC (6-2)..................7 0 6 0 7 — 20
AC – Drew Bonifas 53 pass from Cam Foster (Tyler Slechta kick)
STP – Eli Larson 25 run (Sam Krramer kick)
AC – Slehta 34 pass from Foster (kick failed)
STP – Trevor Dugan 5 run (kick failed)
STP – Larson 2 run (Kramer kick)
AC – Jayden Teichmeier 4 run (Slechta kick)
STP – Tommy Worbelewski 8 run