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(11-20-20) Tonight’s Indiana Class A State Semifinal game has lots of points of interest.

South Adams at 12-0, ranked #1 in the polls takes on defending Class A state champion Lafayette Central Catholic (LCC) who is 5-3 on the season The Starfires with a win would be playing for their first ever State title, LCC already has 8 Class A trophies sitting in their trophy case.

The pandemic has not slowed down South Adams as they were able to play every week and never skip a beat. For the Knights it has been a season that has been a nightmare, they were unable to play four games and a preseason scrimmage due to two COVID 19 quarantines and cancellations. They won one tournament game by forfeit, after that team had advanced from a forfeit win. They have only played eight games to date and are 5-3, two of the losses came to the same team.

LCC Coach Brian Nay told jconline.com about his team and facing South Adams-

“I feel like we are starting to turn the corner in terms of consistency, but we are going to have to level up even more to go over there and be able to put ourselves in a position to win. Something we have failed to do all year is to start fast. We’re again challenging the maturity of our team again to put together 48 minutes.”

Don’t be shedding tears for the Knights just yet! They have some tools in the toolbox that should help in their effort to return to the title game.

Last week in a Regional Final win over Winamc 37-32, two of the ‘kids’ stepped up big. QB (#4) Clark Barrett (Jr) threw for a career-high and school record 494 yards on 30 of 49 and he had help from Sophomore receiver Owen Munn, who had 13 receptions for 255 yards (until that game he had under 100 yards total for the season).

Despite playing only eight games Barrett has some big passing numbers, he is 138-252 attempts, 1,969 yards, 18 TD, 4 INTs, very impressive. His main target for most of those games has been Evan Dienhart with 45 catches for 578 yards and 4 TDs.

If the game comes down to special teams LCC may have a slight advantage, the Knights’ kicker Zach Kerr is perfect on XPs on 24 of 24 and is 3 of 5 on field goals with his longest being 34 yards.

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South Adams has been thinking about winning a state title since last season when they were upset by county rival Adams Central in the Regional Final.

They have not had all the issues with COVID 19 like the Knights faced The Starfires have been dominant in all 12 wins this season. The one surprise that is most overlooked for South Adams has been their defense.

The ‘D’ has only given up double-digit points in two games. Last week in a big match-up in the Regional Final with powerhouse Southwood they gave up 35 points…the most points scored against them this year in a game. But in the other three playoff games they gave up a combined of just 14 total points. During the regular season they gave up 59 points in 8 games.

One of the top QBs in the state is James Arnold (Sr 6’3″ 205 lb), he may get overlooked sometimes for playing for a small school…but he is the real deal. This season Arnold was 166 of 241 for 3,162 yards and 41 TDs and just 6 INTs, despite not playing 4 quarters in the majority of games.

In the win over Southwood Arnold had 435 yards passing and five touchdowns and one INT, on the ground he rushed 6 times for 53 yds and a TD.

Arnold has lots of help this year, top RB Christian Summerset has 175 carries for 1,033 yards and 18 TD’s, Arnold’s main receiver has been Drew Stutzman who has 42 receptions for 1,064 yards and 18 TDs.

The game will be played in Berne tonigh, after being moved earlier in the week, an added benefit for South Adams despite a limited size crowd.

The winner will play for the Class 1A state title at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

A look at the two teams seasons –

Lafayette Central Catholic (5-3)

9-4 – Northwestern 38-0
9-11 – West Lafayette 47-14 (L)
9-18 – Tipton 41-21 (L)
10-9 – Benton Central 28-12
10-16 – Tipton 49-13 (L)

PLAYOFFS
10-23 – Frontier 35-12
10-31 – Clinton Central 28-6
11-6 – Traders Poiny Christian (W- Forfeit)
11-13 – Winamac 37-32

South Adams (12-0)

8-21 – Winchester 41-8
8-28 – Lewis Cass 55-7
9-4 – Bluffton 60-7
9-11 – Heritage 55-8
9-18 – Monroe Central 31-14
9-25 – Adams Central 29-9
10-2 – Jay County 55-0
10-9 – Woodlan 61-6

PLAYOFFS
10-23 – Union City 41-0
10-30 – Monroe Central 48-7
11-6 – Madison-Grant 55-7
11-13 – Southwood 48-35