KEARNEY — As Adams Central quarterback Evan Johnson chased Scott Frost’s Class C-1 career passing yards mark on Friday, he was content to watch his defense dominate Kearney Catholic in the first half.
The third-ranked Patriots held the No. 10 Stars to six yards and a turnover on their first four possessions while staking a 24-0 lead that led to a 37-14 win. The Patriots also clinched the district championship and playoff berth with the victory.
“They are phenomenal,” Johnson said of his defense. “They just do a great job of rallying to the ball. That is what has really kept our team going this year is knowing that we have a defense that can complement our offense so well.”
Adams Central went 80 yards in 11 plays on their first drive as Johnson connected with Tyler Slechta for a 20-yard touchdown and the Patriots were locked in.
“This team is really business like in their approach,” AC coach Shawn Mulligan said. “Our defense has just been great all year and we knew early that we were going to put the ball in Evan’s hands.”
After the opening score, Cam Foster intercepted Star quarterback Heinrich Haarberg on their second play and Johnson immediately found Leif Spady for a 25-yard score and a 14-0 just 4:04 into the game.
On the Patriots third drive, Johnson made history.
His 21-yard pass to Micah Gegenbach was his sixth completion of the game which broke former Kearney Catholic standout Matt Masker’s Class C-1 career completion mark. He also passed Frost for the passing yards mark on the same play.
On that drive, Slechta added a field goal. Then after a punt and a 2-play, 52-yard drive that ended with Gabe Conant’s 27-yard reception the Patriots were in full control. They were ahead 24-7 at half when the game was delayed for nearly 90 minutes due to lightning and heavy rain in the area.
“It’s a huge honor,” Johnson said of eclipsing both Frost and Masker. “Obviously those two guys were great players. Two think that mine name is with them is pretty surreal.
“But I always feel like any individual record means you played on a great team. My teammates have made this happen.”
On his record setting night, Johnson was 14-for-21 for 230 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. Conant added two rushing scores after halftime and ran for 162 yards on 25 carries.
At Kearney Catholic
Adams Central (8-0) 14 10 0 13—37
Kearney Catholic (6-2) 0 7 0 7—14
AC — Tyler Slechta 20 pass from Evan Johnson (Slechta kick), 8:48
AC — Leif Spady 25 pass from Johnson (Slechta kick), 7:56
AC — Slechta 27 field goal, 11:12
AC — Gabe Conant 27 pass from Johnson (Slechta kick), 7:14
KC — Keegan Bosshamer 8 pass from Heinrich Haarberg (Spencer Hogeland kick), 0:26
AC — Gabe Conant 26 run (Slechta kick), 10:00
AC — Gabe Conant 3 run (kick failed), 6:49
KC — Logab Miner 88 pass from Haarberg (Hogeland kick), 3:03