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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Adams Central grinds out a "W" against Cozad

Posted Monday, September 3, 2012, at 12:04 AM

(Photo)
Adams Central's Jake Fowler pulls off the impossible leap against Hastings 2 years ago.
It was billed as the "Battle of the Jakes" and two of the finest high school running backs around these parts certainly did not disappoint. Cozad's flashy speed merchant Jake Paulsen and Adams Central's 2011 Class B all-state Jake Fowler lived up to the pre-game hype, but it was a night where the heat took it's cramping toll and timely turnovers cost where it hurt. In the season opener for both squads, the home field Patriots took advantage of seven costly Cozad penalties, rode the powerful leg(s) of Jake Fowler and used a stout, punishing defense to score a 17-0 win over Cozad.

It was only a little over 9 months ago that Adams Central was playing eventual Class B State Champion Elkhorn in the state semifinals. Cozad was coming in with a young squad, but still had Jake Paulsen, who not only rushed for 1,368 yards as a sophomore, but won the Class B 100 meter dash and high jump. Still, the Haymakers were facing a Patriot team that not only dropped down a class to C-1, but had key players returning on both sides of the ball and a spectatular back in Jake Fowler who piled up 1,764 yards against Class B competition a year ago. But it was Adams Central's stifling defense that fought through numerous cramps on this hot, humid evening to limit the Haymaker's offense to 111 yards, all on the ground.

Cozad had a chance to strike first in the opening quarter when they recovered a fumble by Jake Fowler who had just hauled in a pass. The Haymakers took the ball on their own 36 and fed the ball to Paulsen 4 straight times. The fleet junior ripped off runs of 11, 3, 10, and 3 yards, advancing to the Patriot 40, but an illegal procedure stalled the drive a play later. It seemed like this would be the story for Cozad all evening. Every one of the 7 penalties, 40 yards worth, disrupted drives and prevented the Haymakers from scoring points when they needed them.

Both teams displayed stout defenses in the first half, but it was an error deep in their own territory that cost Cozad dearly at the tail end of the 1st stanza. Forced to punt from their own 25, a high snap caused Haymaker punter Ty Werner to leap high into the air to field the snap and It was billed as the "Battle of the Jakes" and two of the finest high school running backs around these parts certainly did not disappoint. Cozad's flashy speed merchant Jake Paulsen and Adams Central's 2011 Class B all-state Jake Fowler lived up to the pre-game hype, but it was a night where the heat took it's cramping toll and timely turnovers cost where it hurt. In the season opener for both squads, the home field Patriots took advantage of seven costly Cozad penalties, rode the powerful leg(s) of Jake Fowler and used a stout, punishing defense to score a 17-0 win over Cozad.

It was only a little over 9 months ago that Adams Central was playing eventual Class B State Champion Elkhorn in the state semifinals. Cozad was coming in with a young squad, but still had Jake Paulsen, who not only rushed for 1,368 yards as a sophomore, but won the Class B 100 meter dash and high jump. Still, the Haymakers were facing a Patriot team that not only dropped down a class to C-1, but had key players returning on both sides of the ball and a spectatular back in Jake Fowler who piled up 1,764 yards against Class B competition a year ago. But it was Adams Central's stifling defense that fought through numerous cramps on this hot, humid evening to limit the Haymaker's offense to 111 yards, all on the ground.

Cozad had a chance to strike first in the opening quarter when they recovered a fumble by Jake Fowler who had just hauled in a pass. The Haymakers took the ball on their own 36 and fed the ball to Paulsen 4 straight times. The fleet junior ripped off runs of 11, 3, 10, and 3 yards, advancing to the Patriot 40, but an illegal procedure stalled the drive a play later. It seemed like this would be the story for Cozad all evening. Every one of the 7 penalties, 40 yards worth, disrupted drives and prevented the Haymakers from scoring points when they needed them.

Both teams displayed stout defenses in the first half, but it was an error deep in their own territory that cost Cozad dearly at the tail end of the 1st stanza. Forced to punt from their own 25, a high snap caused the Haymaker punter Ty Werner to leap high into the air to field the ball and consequently dropped to a knee when he came down with the ball. Adams Central took over on the Cozad 11 yard line and 2 plays later Jake Fowler took it in from the 4, kicked the extra point himself and staked the Patriots to a 7-0 lead with 11:17 left in the second quarter.

Cozad really had a shot at scoring in that 2nd quarter after pinning A/C deep in their own territory at the 15. Jake Paulsen returned the 33 yard punt to the Patriot 39 and with 8:06 left the Haymakers were in business again. After the fleet Paulsen skirted left for 14, then right for 7, Adams Central was whistled for an procedure infraction and the ball was placed on the A/C 13. Paulsen advanced it to the 7, but the Haymakers were called for a another prodedure penelty. Paulsen gained another 4 to then another procedure penelty essentially killed the drive.

The beginning of the second half was the difference in the game it seemed. Jake Fowler returned the second half kick-off to the Patriot 43, then ripped off runs of 7, then 34 yards. Buzz Neiderklein took it in from 16 yards out for a score on the next play to complete the 3 play, 53 yard drive. All three plays the Patriots lined up in their bread and butter "Maryland-I" formation and plowed through Cozad line. But Cozad did not wilt in the heat after the 14-0 deficit. On the ensuing kick-off, Paulsen took the ball on his 11 yard line, veered right, and outran the entire Adams Central kick-off team for an apparent 89 yard touchdown gem, but the officials ruled a block in the back on the play and the score was nullified. That seemed to take the air out of the Haymaker offense, but the defense continued to battle and all Adams Central could come up with for points the remainder of the game was a 4th quarter 30 yard field goal by Fowler. That put the stamp on the final 17-0 Adams Central.

Jake Fowler led all rushers with 142 yards on 25 grueling carries. Jake Paulsen finished the hot night with 92 yards on 23 touches. Defensively, big Jimmy Brown stood out for the Haymakers, recording 2 sacks and seemed to constantly penetrate the Patriot defense. For the Patriots, 6-3, 210 pound linebacker Jesse Ackerman was a disrupting force, blowing up plays and constantly reminding Jake Paulsen that A/C was playing Class B football a year ago. It appeared to me the 3 lineman, 5 linebacker defense Cozad through up against A/C in the first half confused the Patriots, but superb head coach Bill Carlin made some adjustments at halftime and allowed Fowler to run for 91 of his yards in that second half.

Next week, Adams Central welcomes in Wilber-Clatonia and the fleet Zlab brothers while Cozad opens their home season against Mitchell, who was trounced by Gothenburg 41-0 last Friday. I have a feeling that both of these football teams have a better than average chance at going through the remainder of their regular season unscathed. You will see both Adams Central and Cozad in the Class C-1 playoffs, but Class C-1 is one tough class with teams like Norfolk Catholic, Wahoo, Boone Central/Newman Grove, Pierce, and Boys Town lurking near the top, although Pierce and BT went down last Friday. Remember, Cozad is still a young team, but the defensive performance in this game indicates they can hold their own against some of the best. As for AdamsCentral, they are one of the best in C-1.

This week we will see two of those top tier Class B teams when I make the trek to Albion to watch the mighty Norfolk Catholic take on the tough Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals. Is it Friday yet?



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