Adrian Blackhawks Advance to State Semi-Finals

The Adrian Blackhawks made the long trek to Marceline to take on the Tigers in the Class 1 quarterfinals in the football championship bracket last Saturday.   After a heart stopping final minute of play the long trip home felt a bit shorter knowing they survived to play another week.    Adrian won a thrilling game 13-7 when the final play, a potential game tying pass, fell incomplete.   It is the first time in 15 years the Blackhawks had advanced to the state semi finals.  A win next week will take Adrian back to the State Championship game for the first time since winning it all in 2002.

The Blackhawks dominated, for the most part, a Tiger team that had averaged 54 points a game the last seven weeks including their march through districts.  Adrian held their running game at bay and limiting them to just 7 points in the quarterfinal game.  Marceline netting 35 yards on the ground and relied on their passing game to keep them in it.  Much of that due to long sustained drives by Adrian.

But it was that passing game almost won the game for them.   Adrian scored on their opening possession of each half to take and reclaim leads.   The Blackhawks fumbled another scoring opportunity at the goal line in the second quarter.  That fumble ignited the Marceline offense.  Rather than be dejected after giving up yet another long scoring drive they seized the momentum and put together an aerial barrage that culminated in a touchdown pass with seconds to go before half.

Adrian’s second touchdown came with the opening drive of the second half.  The extra point sailed wide right giving the eventual final score but also set the stage for the dramatic ending.  After trading possessions in the 4th quarter Adrian punted the ball with 1:08 on the clock.   Marceline mixed up pass plays between two receivers that either stepped out of bounds or got another first down to spike the ball and stop the clock.  With just five seconds to play the Tiger quarterback lofted a pass to the far side of end zone from Adrian’s sideline.  The ball fell in and out of the hands of the of the same receiver that had caught the tying touchdown just before half.  After a  brief moment of confusion as to what had just happened the Blackhawks sideline erupted with jubilant coaches and players swarming the team that was comin off the field to greet them. 

The score didn’t indicate how much Adrian had controlled that game.   Marceline came in with a matching 10-1 record.  They had a dynamic team filled with underclassmen that will pose a formidable foe next year.   But this day was about Adrian’s defense coming up big when needed.   

The Blackhawks defense will have an even stronger test this Saturday when they travel to Faucett to take on the Mid Buchanan Dragons in the semi finals.    The winner will advance to the Class 1 State Championship game being played at Blair Oaks High School in Jefferson city verses the winner of the Thayer/Windsor game.  

Mid Buchanan is the top ranked team in the state.   The Dragons feature a strong passing game but also a competent running game.  In their quarterfinal win over Penney they had a whopping 593 yards of total offense.   They ran for an impressive 310 yards and passed for a jaw-dropping 293 yards.

Adrian is no stranger to strong passing teams having defeated Lighthouse Christian in week two of the season.   The Blackhawks are very strong against the run but will have to balance controlling the running game and slowing down the aerial attack of the Dragons.   One thing is for sure.  This team will give it their all making anything possible.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter Summary:Adrian (4:28) – Colton Bass 2 yd run (Case Doody kick)Second Quarter Summary:Marceline (:43) – Wyatt Molloy 24 yd pass from Jacob Stallo (Sam Gillman kick)Third Quarter Summary:Adrian (6:34) – Bass 1 yd run (kick failed)

 Coach’s Comments:What a game! That was a pretty well played football game by both teams. Going into the game I thought we could out-physical them, and I think we did for the most part. Our line controlled the line-of-scrimmage all day. Offensively, we rushed for almost 300 yds. so we ran the ball pretty effectively. We did what we wanted to do which is to control the ball on long time-consuming drives. Fumbling the ball into their end zone hurt us. I think Marceline got a little momentum from that, and we deflated a little. They had us on our heels for a bit at the end of the second quarter. Defensively, I thought our rush defense was outstanding. When you can hold a rushing team to 34 yds on 18 rushes in a quarterfinal game, that is playing pretty good defense. We totally took the run away from them. I think they ran the ball a total of four times in the second half. We do have to shore up our pass defense some, but we did enough today. At this point in the season, you just want to score more points than your opponent. We weren’t perfect today, but we did what we needed to do. I’m really proud of these kids. We have to go to Mid-Buchanan next Saturday, and they are pretty good. However, I think we are, too. We are looking forward to the challenge.

this story is courtesy of the Adrian News Leader