WABASH – The South Adams Class of 2021, which had already broken just about every record on the football program books and spent two seasons atop the state-wide rankings, finally has a regional title.
The Starfires (12-0) defeated Southwood 48-35 in a Class A regional Friday, claiming the program's third regional title, and first since 2014.
South Adams and Southwood traded blows for the first 21 minutes, with each scoring one touchdown in the final quarter-and-a-half. But in the was in the middle, the final minutes of the second quarter and the first half of the third quarter, that the Starfires pulled away.
“We knew it was going to be a show like that. They have an incredible offense, quarterback (Alex Farr),” South Adams coach Grant Moser said. “We knew they would keep pace with us, and luckily (quarterback) James Arnold kept making plays. Seniors kept making plays. O-line gave James enough time to make throws.”
With 3:30 to go in the first half, Arnold hit Trey Schoch with a 13-yard touchdown, narrowing the Knights' lead to 28-27 when the extra point was missed. That miss seemed like it might be a costly error, until Drew Stutzman picked off Farr just under the 2-minute mark, giving South Adams the ball back around midfield. Moments later, Arnold scored on an 11-yard carry, demolishing two defenders who tried to stop him at the goal line, and the Starfires were up 34-28.
And then it happened all over again. Schoch intercepted Farr, setting up a 23-yard touchdown pass from Arnold to Stutzman as time expired. The conversion failed, so the Starfires took a 40-28 lead into the locker room.
Southwood got the ball back to open the second half, but both the Knights and the Starfires punted on their first drives (although South Adams had two apparent touchdowns called back by penalties). Nevertheless, South Adams kept the momentum as Aiden Wanner got in on the action, intercepting Farr midway through the third quarter. That Starfire possession would conclude with a 3-yard touchdown carry by Nick Miller and South Adams was up 48-28.
“The senior class was absolutely unbelievable. We had guys get hurt, cramping the whole time, but everyone stepped up,” Moser said. “So many guys you could name to be proud of. ... We had so many guys stepping in. Trey Schoch, who didn't start on either side of the ball, came in and played every down in the second half on both sides of the ball. Absolutely incredible. Nick Miller stepped in at running back for (Christian) Summersett, and ran the ball really well. He's played running back maybe 10 carries this entire year until tonight. We had linemen go down, guys filling in.
“I'm glad we didn't play any longer than that, because we were getting to the end there, with guys we could put in.”