Starsâ€™ hold tough, stifle late Jetsâ€™ drive, 14-13
Derek Wanner runs for the Stars. (Archive photo)
BERNE — South Adams took advantage of some breaks on its final drive, but made some big plays, including a 33-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion, then Isaiah Amtstutz snuffed out the Jets' final effort with an interception in the end zone as the host Starfires stunned Adams Central 14-13 in the semi-final round of Sectional 43 action Friday night.
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The win avenged an earlier 32-22 loss to the Jets, and puts the 4-7 Starfires in the sectional title game this Friday at Southwood, a 42-22 winner over Southern Wells.
The Jets rushed for 238 yards and built a 13-0 lead after three quarters, but the Starfires battled back, scoring two fourth-period touchdowns on drives that were aided by penalties against Adams Central.
A pass interference penalty against the Jets was not much of a factor in the first South Adams score, which happened on a two-yard run by Drew LeFever. However, three penalties were critical in the Starfires final drive, including two 15-yarders.
SA quarterback Derek Wanner, on second and 14 at the Jets' 33-yard line, found wideout Collin Affolder open up the middle and connected on a scoring pass with 4:06 to go in the game to knot the score at 13. The Stars set up for a kick, but called time out. Wanner then handed off to Skylar Schoch, who raced around left end for the winning two-point conversion.
The penalties included a false start as the Jets were set to go for it on fourth down and inches from their own 34-yard line with 6:59 to go, a 15-yard personal foul call following a fumbled punt by South Adams, and later a 15-yard penalty for a horse-collar tackle after the Starfires' runningback was caught for an eight-yard loss.
"It's about time this year," spouted South Adams coach Rick Burkhalter, on the Starfires catching some breaks.
"Our kids played hard, and they played hard all year. I knew it was going to be a game like this where we just battle, battle and battle. I'm proud of our coaching staff. We made adjustments at halftime, and they bought into it, but we have to get some stops, and get the football, and we did that."
The Jets didn't quit after the Stars went ahead, but drove right down the field and were in position, at the South Adams six-yard line, to take back the game.