By: Dan Stickradt
FOOTBALL: No. 1 Eisenhower rallies past Adams
BY DAN STICKRADT
UTICA — Jack Morris and Ben Metz did not have to have All-State-type performances Friday evening for Utica Eisenhower.
They only had to be on target at the end.
After forcing Rochester Adams to punt, Eisenhower returned the ball to the Adams 37 yard line. On the ensuing play, Morris found a streaking Metz for a 37-yard touchdown strike down the middle of the field with 1:27 left in leading the top-ranked Eagles to a thrilling 10-6 triumph over No. 7 Adams in a Division 1 district final at Utica’s Swinehart Stadium.
Morris finished just 2-for-5 for 57 yards and two interceptions but his second completion of the night to Metz was perhaps the biggest of the season.
“I wasn’t really busy out there for the first three quarters, but I knew when (Morris) threw it that I had to make the play,” said Metz. “They told me to try to get inside, reroute, give him the head fake and get open. It was a great throw and I was able to come down with it.”
The win catapults the Eagles (11-0) into next week’s regional finals against No. 9 West Bloomfield.
“We knew it would be a physical game,” said Eisenhower coach Chris Smith. “When we got the ball back we knew we had to make the play. (Assistant coach) John DiGiorgio called it. We had to go one-on-one with them and Morris found Metz with a guy all over him. We had coughed it up at the 10 (on the previous drive). We had to make something happen because Adams is such a great defensive team.”
Adams took a 6-3 lead with 6:52 to play on a 34-yard field goal by Ben Patton. The junior laced a 21-yard field goal with 3:52 to go in the second quarter, which gave the OAA Red Division champion Highlanders (9-2) a 3-0 halftime advantage.
The Highlanders could never find the end zone.
Eisenhower’s Massimo D’Aristotile knotted the contest at 3-3 with his own 24-yard boot with 5:55 to go in the third stanza.
“The turnover gave them the first three (points). We capitalize on them when we had the ball in the red (zone) tonight and that cost us,” sighed Adams coach Tony Patritto. “We hadn’t done that all year, the little mistakes.
“We did a good job taking away what they like to do,” added Patritto. “They gave everything they had and were a little short. We played great defense on them. Our game plan was to lock in them and play man (defense). Their guy made a huge play when they needed it.“
Zach Soldan finished with 104 rushing yards on 26 carries and was 10-for-13 passing for 144 yards for Adams, which also missed a 31-yard field goal early in the third quarter. Ben Luci (41 receiving yards) led the Highlanders’ receiving core.
Caleb Oyster had 86 yards on 20 carries for Eisenhower.