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Highland spoiled Pekin’s homecoming after Cole Adamson was able to blow by pass coverage from a linebacker and reel in a 40-yard touchdown catch to give Highland a 23-21 win.
On what became the game-winning play, the Huskies have quarterback Trey Lasek back in shotgun with two wide receivers to each side and Adamson lined up to the left of him. Highland had just burned Pekin with a 20-yard run by Lasek, so the Panthers had packed the box to try and stop the run.
Highland coach Scott Morel said it was something Joe Donovan, who calls the offensive plays for the Huskies, had noticed and wanted to take advantage up.
“We had been holding (that play). Coach Donovan radios up on who would cover Cole (Adamson) and that was the adjustment he did,” Morel said.
Morel said once he knew the speedy Adamson would be matched up with a linebacker they had the matchup they needed.
After the snap, Adamson runs directly into his route right down the middle of the Pekin defense, he blows by one linebacker and a safety is two steps behind Adamson as Lasek delivers him the ball. Adamson then runs out the final 20 yards for the touchdown.
Adamson finished the night with 129 total yards of offense, 65 through the air on three catches and 59 yards rushing on 12 carries.
On the ensuing Pekin drive, a sack backed Pekin up and forced them to throw the ball. Lasek sealed the game with an interception on the next play.
The Huskies now have their second late game-winning drive of the season and currently have a 6-1 record and are 1-1 in district play.
The game up to that point had been a back-and-forth affair as things were knotted at 14 as the game headed into the fourth quarter.
Highland’s first two touchdowns had come on Lasek rushes. Lasek finished the night with 160 rushing yards on 22 carries. He also added 124 yards through the air on 6-13 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Highland defense shut down the Pekin passing game, allowing only two completions on the night.
“Both defenses were playing really well on Friday. We kept to the game plan really well. We just wanted to stop their running back,” Morel said.
Relatively speaking, they did. Pekin’s Dayne Eckley is the second leading rusher in Class A with 1,205 yards on 125 carries and 12 touchdowns. Highland held Eckley 30 yards below his season average, giving up 60 of his 173 total yards on one big touchdown run.
Highland will host Durant this week in another tough conference matchup. Durant sits at 4-2 with their only two losses coming to higher class opponents. They dispatched of Cardinal 56-6 last week. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Highland High School.
Highland: 7; 7; 0; 9; 23
Pekin: 0; 14; 0; 7; 21
Trey Lasek 6-13 124 yards 1 TD 2 INT
Trey Lasek 22-160 yards 2 TD
Cole Adamson 12-59 yards
Jordan Sosa 8-40 yards
Cole Adamson 3-65 yards 1 TD
Brady Hahn 1-30 yards
Mason McFarland 1-2 yards
Cory Stewart 1-27 yards
Brody Burton 3 tackles, 1 sack
Cole Adamson 7.5 tackles
Brady Hahn 5.5 tackles
Brody Burton 1-1, 30 yards