FRANKFORT — Business as usual.
That’s how Adena handled one of the biggest games in program history on Friday.
In a Division VI, Region 24 Quarterfinal, the Warriors handed Minster a 28-0 shutout loss to advance to their first-ever regional semifinal.
“The game plan changed a little bit because their normal quarterback wasn’t playing,” Sykes said. “They were rotating guys in there, but they still ran the same stuff we’d seen. We knew our guys up front would be physical. They always are. They did really well.”
Sykes is right on the money. Adena’s physicality in the trenches overwhelmed the Wildcats all night long. That allowed the Warriors to rush for 255 yards and pass for an additional 182.
“The whole year, we mess around with each other but we always work hard in the weight room. We just get stuff done,” offensive lineman Eric Hurtt said. “Tonight, we just felt like we were the better team. We just went out and played.”
Hurtt helped block for tailback Nate Throckmorton, who always seems to have a spring in his step during the most crucial moments. Throckmorton, a senior, amassed 122 yards rushing on 17 carries and scored on an 89-yard touchdown run.
That play, which came at the 11:49 mark in the second quarter set the pace throughout the rest of the night.
“Nate leads by example,” Adena coach John Penwell said of his senior tailback. “I describe him as the ultimate competitor. He always rises to the challenge. We know what type of competitor he is. He’s the type of guy you want to get the ball to.”
After Throckmorton made it an 8-0 ballgame, after a two-point conversion, Adena’s Preston Sykes pushed the lead to 14-0 with a four-yard touchdown run late in the first half. Sykes scored again with 6:43 to go in the third, stretching the advantage to 20-0 from 12 yards out.
The final score of the night, via Sykes, came on a nine-yard run with 11:53 left in regulation. A two-point conversion produced the night’s final and handed the Warriors their second-ever playoff victory.
“Minster puts you in a predicament. Their offense makes you accountable for your positioning,” Penwell said. “But the kids rose up to the challenge. They’ve been wanting a challenge and they got one tonight. So hats off to Minster. They came up and played extremely hard.”
Sykes finished the game 11-of-15 passing for 182 yards and rushed 16 times for 105 yards and three touchdowns. Throckmorton finished the night with 122 rushing yards and a score, and Logan Bennett had four catches for 80 yards.
Adena advances to a Division VI, Region 24 Semifinal at 7 p.m., this coming Saturday. There, they’ll meet with Mechanicsburg with a chance to go to the Elite Eight.
The Indians beat the Warriors in a regional quarterfinal last season, ending their season by a 32-7 final.
“After last year, now we have a chip on our shoulder,” Throckmorton said. “We want payback on them.”