Conference play was exactly what the 3-4 (3-1) Adrian Maples needed to get some kind of rhythm going. They have played well all season long, but they could only do it for a half and then they would collapse. We have seen them come on and play full games as of late. They did it again this week when they upset the Lincoln Railsplitters, when it came down to the final quarter to decide it.
Adrian got it going early in the game when their quarterback Hunter Hayes found Jurell Parrish for a pass that he took 38 yards for a touchdown. The kick would fail on the point after. Lincoln wouldn’t be outdone as they scored on back-to-back possessions with their running back Dalauren Roberson, the first was a 1 yard touchdown and the other from 5 yards. Both of their kicks would fail and Lincoln would lead 12-6 at the end of the quarter.
Both teams would hold until late into the 2nd when Hayes would find another receiver, Michael Hamden, for a 21 yard touchdown pass. That would tie it up and they couldn’t add the kick to take the lead. The score would be 12-12 at halftime.
The only score of the third quarter came from the Railsplitters when their quarterback Javin Kilgo would find KJ Osborn for a 14 yard touchdown pass. The kick would once again fail.
Hayes would bring them back when he would throw his 3rd touchdown pass of the night and he would get it to Hamden again for his second. This one was for 28 yards. On the next drive the Maples’ defense would get in on the action when they forced a fumble and Austen Gray would take it in for the score. Adrian would try for two and get it on a Hayes run.
Lincoln wasn’t done yet. They drove the ball down the field and their running back Tyree Waller would cap off the drive with a 2 yard run. The Railsplitters would try for 2 and it would be denied. The score would hold and give Adrian the victory, 26-25.
Adrian was led through the air by Hayes who was 18 for 40 for 248 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The Maples didn’t have a leading rusher as they rushed for negative yards and the closest to zero were Jeff Marvin who had a rush for -2 yards and Tony Mendez with 10 carries for -2 yards. The leading receiver was Josh Perez who had 5 catches for 86 yards. He was joined by Hamden who had 8 catches for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Lincoln’s quarterback Kilgo completed 11 of his 25 pass for 144 yards with a touchdown and an interception. They were led on the ground by Roberson who had 22 carries for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Railsplitters top receiver was Osborn who had 4 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
I am highly surprised by the Adrian defense in this game. I thought Lincoln had too many weapons and they would not be able to slow them down. Early in the year, I thought Adrian’s defense wouldn’t be bad, but they gave up a lot of yards and points to teams in the second half. The Maples gave up 330 yards of offense and 25 points, which isn’t that great. More of it came on the ground, but for the most part it was balanced. Adrian has two tough tests on their schedule to end the year, if they want to have a chance they are going to need to tighten up. The 3 turnovers they caused are good, though and that is something they need to continue to do.
I was impressed by the Maples’ passing game in this one and I was disappointed in their running game. They threw for 271 yards on 19 completions. They had 22 incomplete passes, but they were playing against a decent defense and it was raining out. The 3 interceptions are something they need to work on as well. Their running game was horrendous though. They had 23 carries that went for -10 yards. If they want any shot going forward, they need to figure out the running game and get more production than this. The odd thing was that it was raining, which means running the ball is usually easier, but that definitely was not the case for Adrian. They had 6 turnovers in all as well. If they don’t cut those down drastically they are going to lose their final two games.
From here Adrian will travel to play their rival in the 6-1 (3-1) Tecumseh Indians. Tecumseh lost their first game of the season this week when they were defeated 31-28 by the Chelsea Bulldogs on the road.
Lincoln will try to end this losing streak when they return home to play the 1-6 (1-3) Ypsilanti Phoenix. The Phoenix won their first game of the season when they sneaked past the Dexter Dreadnaughts 13-7.