Both Adams Central and South Adams placed five football players on the All-ACAC first team, it was announced earlier this week.
Outstanding senior back Nathan Busse, who had combined rushing and receiving stats of nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, led the Central group, which included sophomore quarterback Dalton Combs, senior center Clayton Lengerich, senior two-way lineman Travis Snyder and runningback-defensive back Spencer Balash.
Speedy South Adams senior runningback Taylor LeFever led a strong group of South Adams first-teamers. Senior linebackers Trevor White and Sam Amstutz, junior quarterback Dustin Wanner and senior punter Chaise Moore all were first-team competitors for Jason Arnold's Starfires, which won six straight games before falling to Churubusco in the Sectional 35 championship game.
The Jets had a huge turnaround season under second-year coach Michael Mosser, going 7-3, and also falling to 'Busco in the opening round of the Class A playoffs.
Leo back Connor Kacsor, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the sectional, led a group of six Lions on the first team: Kyle Marzec, Adam Sauder, Rob Rhorbacher, Jordan Baer, and Matt White.
Leo was beaten in the 3A semistate by South Bend St. Joe..
For the Jets, earning second-team status were linebacker Warren Burkhart, runningback Spencer Sharp and defensive end Andrew Crisp.
For South Adams, defensive end Curtis Mitchel, fullback Zach Morgan and lineman Drew Taylor were all given second-team status.
"I'm very proud of how hard our guys worked this season. We're obviously disappointed with getting beat in the first round of sectional, however, 'Busco was a very worthy team," stated central coach Michael Mosser.
"Despite that loss, we had a lot highlights and moments to remember, beating 4A Northwest, stopping Todd Frickey of Garrett in the second half to win that game, beating a very tough hard-nosed Heritage team, winning big against Southern Wells, and finishing strong, despite a lot of injuries, against Bluffton and Woodlan. Our guys had a knack for finding a way to win. It wasn't always pretty, but they sure find a way to get it done when we needed to, ,winning close games with Garrett, Heritage, Bluffton, and Woodlan. I'm very proud of our 7-3 record," stated Mosser, who took over from legendary Jets' coach Rick Minnich.
"I really think the team success was the result of great senior leadership from our four captains — Busse, Balash, Lengerich, and Snyder. They were successful not only on the field but able to build a strong team cohesiveness. They made the season fun and rewarding," said Mosser.
The coach lauded the sophomore quarterback. "Dalton Combs also did a great job leading our offense. I am excited about the possibilities he brings for us. He is not only a great athlete but has great poise under pressure."
Combs put on some excellent statistics, hitting 72 of 141 passes for 1,119 yards with 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Busse, who missed some action early in the year with an injury, led the team in both rushing and receiving, gaining 578 yards on 127 carries with six touchdowns. He added six more touchdowns on Combs' passes, gaining 413 yards on 23 receptions. He added 39 solos and 12 assists as a defensive back, with six interceptions.
Balash had 82 solo stops and 37 assists, with five tackles for loss, lead the Jets' defense. He also caught 14 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns.
Lengerich keyed on offensive line that produced right at 300 yards per game. An aggressive defender, Lengerich recorded five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks for the Jets. Snyder was a key offensive lineman.
Sharp was the leading ballcarrier through most of the season, gaining 566 yards in just seven games with five touchdowns. Burkhart was second on the team with 60 solos and 29 assists, 1.5 sacks and five stops for loss. Crisp was fourth on the list with 48 total tackles, two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.
"Our second-teamers also had a huge impact. Warren was one of our leading tacklers and Spencer one of our leading rushers, even after missing the last three games to an MCL tear. Andrew was a rock on our defense and special teams. He played with a lot of passion and heart," praised the coach.
LeFever had a huge year for the Starfires and fueled their late-season run, six straight wins. He garnered 863 yards on 118 carries (97.3) with 10 rushing touchdowns. He added six more receiving TDs, netting 525 yards on 33 catches (15.8). He had one touchdown on a punt return and gained 200 more yards on special teams.
Wanner hit 70 of 132 passes for 13 touchdowns and just eight interceptions,, adding 566 rushing yards on a team-leadingn 147 carries with nine scores in the SA triple-option..
Moore punted 29 times, averaging 34.4 yards per kick, the best numbers in the ACAC.
White had 86 solos and 4 assists with 8 tackles for loss to lead the Stars. Amstutz had 60 stops with six tackles for loss and five sacks.
Mitchel had 35 tackles, seven for loss and four sacks. Morgan gained 466 yards as the SA fullback.
From Heritage, making the first team were: linebacker Ryan Bradtmueller, defensive end Aaron Marquardt, center Alex Heine, and back Wil Knapke.
Frickey made it from Garrett, along with QB Brayden Moreau, linebackers Austin Gibson and Logan Lee and kicker Chase Hall.
Record-setting Bluffton quarterback Cam Gerber, who led the league in passing with most all of the Bluffton records, was named first-team, along with Nick Landrum. Michael Whitcombe and Clint Romines, both wideouts and defensive backs, were Woodlan's representatives on the team.