Stars align in class A title game
Churubusco defensive coordinator Zach Dock talks to his players on the sidelines of the class A sectional semifinal at Southern Wells last Friday. The Eagles will look to its defense again to stop the South Adams Starfies in the sectional championship Friday night. South Adams is on a six-game winning streak averaging 37.7 points on offense. From left: Eric Kuznar (67), Jason Nicodemus (21), Layne Fulk (20), Alex Zolman (2). Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott
Each week of the Indiana high school football postseason has had its share of tests for the class A Churubusco Eagles.
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The sectional opener was titled for its revenge of an early exit the year before to Adams Central.
After getting by the Flying Jets, a road trip to Southern Wells pitted rushing against rushing with Churubusco coming out on top in a defensive battle 12-6.
Sectional championship week has a new test for ’Busco with the high- scoring offense of the South Adams Starfires.
“They are very athletic, very fast and their skilled kids are as good as anyone we’ve faced,” Churubusco head coach Lee Etzler said.
Friday night, Churubusco will travel south again to face the same South Adams squad that beat Southern Wells 69-14.
“They’ve won six straight and are playing pretty good football,” Etzler admitted. “We saw how good Southern Wells was and they beat them pretty good.”
By looking at records alone — Churubusco 10-1, South Adams 6-5 — the match-up seems to be in the Eagles favor.
However, the Starfires’ tough schedule to start the season put Churubusco in a new underdog role on the road Friday night.
South Adams’ season has been a series of two different teams starting with a five-game losing streak. The Starfires averaged 11.8 points in the stretch.
Opponents included: Eastbrook (11-0), Bellmont (4-6), Bluffton (4-7), Heritage (5-6), Leo (10-1).
“They had a very tough early season schedule with Eastbrook, Bellmont and Leo,” Etzler noted. “Those aren’t easy games to start with.”
Since that time, South Adams has been on a spree of offensive scoring. The Starfires have averaged nearly 38 points per game since its last loss in week five to Leo.
Both of Churubusco’s sectional victories have also been wins for South Adams during the regular season — Adams Central 46-21, Southern Wells 69-14.
Through the winning streak, South Adams damage path has been led by its option-based offense and running back Taylor LeFever.
The Eagles come off a close win over Southern Wells where the Raiders also ran the option. LeFever and company will give ’Busco its second consecutive week where the focus is on the opposing run defense.
“On the option offense their two halfbacks are very good with LeFever being the best of them all,” Etzler stated. “The quarterback can also run the ball as well.”
Churubusco comes off its worst offensive scoring game of the season held 28 points under its season average of 40.
The Eagles found out that defense is a new way they’ll have to win football games in the postseason.
“South Adams probably doesn’t have the grind it out potential that Southern Wells did but they have the big play potential,” Etzler stated. “We’re going to have to play discipline on defense and not give up the big plays. It only takes three or four big plays and you’re in big trouble.”
Churubusco has surrendered only six points in each of its sectional wins.
Three weeks into the postseason, Churubusco will continue to have its defense tested the deeper it goes. Not always being the favorite isn’t important to the Eagles at this point.
“When you get to a championship game those things like favorites don’t matter,” Etzler said. “We don’t worry about things like that affecting us. There is that championship dangling in front of our face so that’s pretty good motivation right there.”