INDIANAPOLIS – Last Thanksgiving break, Adams Central senior Nick Neuenschwander could barely watch South Adams play in the Class A state finals.
“I did and I didn't, because we should've been there,” Neuenschwander said when asked if he watched the rival Starfires, who ultimately fell to Covenant Christian. “My dad bought (the livestream) and we watched it as a family, but I couldn't watch it, at the same time.”
But this year, it's the Flying Jets' time to shine in the Class A state finals, where they will face Indianapolis Lutheran (14-0) with the aim of securing the second state title in school history. The game will be played at noon Friday, and Adams Central will wear road uniforms after a coin flip Monday determined that Indianapolis Lutheran will be the home team.
Neuenschwander and a few of his fellow seniors got their first chance to step onto the Lucas Oil Stadium field Monday morning at the annual meeting and media session for state finalists.
There was no crowd in the stands and no players in pads, but it was still a memorable moment for the Jets, who have not reached the state championship game since winning their lone title in 2000.
“It was insane, going out there and thinking that Colts stars have played on that field before, and now we're playing on it, it's just insane,” Corbin Hirschy said. “It blows your mind.”
Though it's been a generation since the Jets have played for a state title, the Saints were in the Class A final in 2019, falling to Lafayette Central Catholic 29-28.
“Years ago, I had a great football coach, Dick Dullaghan, who people may know from Ben Davis, tell me, 'Delegate or die,' ” Indianapolis Lutheran coach Dave Pasch said of coaching during the hectic lead up to a state final, which always falls on Thanksgiving week. “You really have to be reliant upon your staff, your support people and your program. There's certainly an advantage to having been here and been through the experience before, because it's not new. ... You want to keep everything as normal, as routine as possible.”
Adams Central coach Michael Mosser, who is coaching in his first state title game in his 13 years as a head coach, also said there is a plethora of extra work for this Friday's game in addition to the typical preparation coaches do for every game.
“It's nerve-wracking. I'm excited to do it, but as the head coach, with all the administrative work, it can be a little overwhelming. Organization is one of my strengths, so I'm able to do it and get everything done, but it is taxing,” Mosser said. “Logistically, we're trying to keep everything as normal as possible because ultimately, we're not here for the experience. We're here to win. And practicing is top priority. We're not going to go through the motions, we're going to do exactly what we have done every week of this season in preparation.”
The first trip to the state finals in 21 years was always going to be special for a place such as Monroe. The Jets have reached the semistate 14 times in five different decades but often stalled out in that last round before the state championship. But it is especially sweet for Mosser that the trip to Indianapolis falls this year. It is his father and assistant coach Rod Mosser's 50th year in coaching. And it is son Joshua Mosser's senior season.
“I had him as a coach playing, so football runs in our family. He has never been to the state finals, never,” Michael Mosser said of his father. “It's been a dream of his, so win or lose, it's beyond special.”
Class A State Finals
Adams Central (13-1) vs. Indianapolis Lutheran (14-0)
When: Noon Friday
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Tickets: $15 per person, children 5 and under are free. Tickets must be purchased at ticketmaster.com, search “IHSAA football championships”