Adams Central passing game made it difficult for Grand Island Central Catholic.
Sophomore quarterback Evan Johnson was 15 of 25 for 339 with two touchdowns passes, helping the Patriots to a 35-7 win over the Crusaders Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore Lief Spady caught six passes for 160 yards with a 54-yard touchdown strike, while Caleb Ackles had four catches for 86 yards with a 48-yard score.
Adams Central coach Shawn Mulligan said he liked what he saw out of Johnson and the receiving corps.
“I thought we could do a lot of stuff in our passing game and Evan just made great decisions the whole night,” he said. “And we have receivers who can help him out. Caleb has had a fantastic season and Leif is a great sophomore receiver who has been doing well for us.
“We got a lot of guys we can throw to and if you want to double those guys, Evan will still find the right guy and his decision making is excellent as he has thrown only one interception this year.”
GICC coach Tim Dvorak said Johnson took advantage of the inexperience GICC has in the secondary.
“We have a young secondary with a lot of talent but not a lot of experience,” Dvorak said. “They have some good receivers with a good quarterback. They found open spots. We were close but they were closer.”
Johnson also found success on the ground for the Patriots (4-2). Even though he only ran for two yards, he did score two touchdowns as he scored on a 12-yard run and a 1-yard run.
The first was on a quarterback keep where the Crusader defense was eying on running back Gabe Conant.
“That’s still a work in progress and we tell him to read, don’t guess. We ran that play a few times later in the game and he got sacked,” Mulligan said. “We’re still figuring that out and that’s the sophomore part of it. But he does a fantastic job and he needs to be part of our run game if we are going to be successful.”
The Crusaders did not quit after seeing Johnson throw the 48-yard strike to Ackles to make it 28-0 early in the fourth quarter.
GICC recovered a fumble on the Adams Central 35-yard line. Five plays later, Jack Goering, making his first start at quarterback, threw a 23-yard strike to Dylan Rasmussen.
For the game, Goering, who was stepping in for the injured Luke Wemhoff, was 22 of 33 for 171 yards but threw two interceptions.
“He didn’t do a bad job stepping out there for the first time at quarterback,” Dvorak said. “He did some good things but was inconsistent at times.”
Rasmussen caught nine passes for 81 yards. GICC was penalized five times for 15 yards, but was stopped on fourth down three times. The Crusaders had 269 yards of offense but gave up 437 yards to Adams Central.
Dvorak said GICC (0-6) just needs to be a little more consistent but he was proud of the fight his team showed later.
“The story of our team is inconsistency,” Dvorak said. “We have done great things on both sides of the ball. But part of our inconsistency is our inexperience.
“We’re trying to get more consistent. But these guys have great heart and they’ll keep fighting until the end. That makes me lucky to coach these guys but we need to keep improving.”
Adams Central 35, Grand Island CC 7
Adams Central (4-2) .......... 0 14 7 14—35
Grand Island CC (0-6) ............ 0 0 0 7—7
AC — Spady 54 pass from Johnson (Slechta kick), 10:32.
AC — Johnson 12 run (Slechta kick), 2:04.
AC — Johnson 1 run (Slechta kick), 1:35.
AC — Ackles 48 pass from Johnson (Slechta kick), 10:49.
GICC — Rasmussen 23 pass from Goering (Slotz kick), 7:33.
AC — Barry 1 run (Slechta kick), 2:28.
First downs 19 16
Att-Rush yds 35-98 33-98
Att-Comp.-Int 15-25-0 22-33-2
Receiving yards 339 171
Total yards 437 269
Fumbles 2-1 0-0
Penalties 8-65 5-15
RUSHING – AC: Conant 14-45, Huyser 4-25, Barry 10-26, Johnson 7-2. GICC: Bales 14-47, Goering 11-28, Martinez 5-20, Steinke 3-3.
PASSING – AC: Johnson 15-25-0 339. GICC: Goering 22-33-2 171.
RECEIVING – AC: Spady 6-160, Ackles 4-86, Machnicki 2-39, Huyser 1-24, Conant 1-20, Keller 1-10. GICC: Rasmussen 9-81, Martinez 6-20, Herbek 3-26, Henke 3-27, Steinke 1-17.