High school football: ADM of Adel proves doctors, skeptics wrong

High school football: ADM of Adel proves doctors, skeptics wrong

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High school football: ADM of Adel proves doctors, skeptics wrong

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Jordan Grove hobbled out of the UNI-Dome last November as the newly minted but limping leader of a football program facing a major graduation toll.
ADM of Adel reached the state semifinals last year for the first time, but when the historic run ended for the Tigers and their sights shifted forward, their 2012 depth chart needed nearly as much repair work as their running back’s left knee.
Doctors told Grove he might miss most or all of his senior season, and skeptics told the ADM players they wouldn’t approach heights reached by last year’s squad.
The Tigers are having a good time proving their doubters wrong so far.
“That makes this more fun,” ADM coach Mike Whisner said after the Tigers toppled a ranked opponent for the second consecutive week to push their record to 5-0.
Grove leads Class 3-A in rushing with 1,098 yards — 238 more than any other player — and his team is up to No.6 in the rankings after knocking off Creston and Council Bluffs Lewis Central the past two weeks. Both had been unbeaten before playing ADM.
This isn’t exactly the doom and gloom forecasted for the Tigers last November when Grove faced major knee surgery and the eligibility clock expired for ADM’s star-studded class of senior playmakers.
“There was a burning fire in me listening to all the people saying I wouldn’t be able to play or our team wasn’t going to be good,” said Grove, who played receiver as a junior and caught 39 passes for 543 yards and eight touchdowns. “It made me want to be the best this fall.”
Grove tore the ACL and MCL and sustained meniscus damage during the semifinal defeat against eventual champion Union of LaPorte City. He consulted with three doctors before he received the opinion he wanted.
The first surgeon told Grove he’d likely miss all of his senior year. The second said he might be ready to play midway through the season. The third gave Grove hope that he’d be ready for the opener, even if he wasn’t at full strength.
Grove underwent surgery on Dec.23. He talked his way into a JV 100-meter dash at an ADM track meet in late April and won the race in 11.89 seconds, a time fast enough to place in the varsity race that day.
By the time football started, Grove was lifting more, jumping higher and making better cuts than ever before.
“I was doing stuff I wasn’t supposed to,” he said.
There was just as much skepticism about Grove’s team after the graduation of all-state quarterback Gavin Glenn and a star-studded cast of playmakers. Seniors accounted for 89 percent of ADM’s rushing yards last season and 79 percent of its receiving production, and they occupied the top six spots on the Tiger tackle chart.
Grove heard whispers around the community that the Tigers were destined for a drop-off. Noah Taylor, a first-team all-state offensive lineman last year, said even some of last year’s seniors thought ADM was bound to tumble after finishing 12-1.
If there’s been any regression, it’s hard to find on the stat sheet. The Tigers are second in Class3-A in total offense, averaging 434.4 yards per game, a slight increase from last year’s 429.8 clip. ADM is averaging nearly 37 points per game, two less than a year ago.
Quarterback Kyle Herrick tossed six touchdowns in the last two weeks. Taylor and guards Dylan Nelson and Trystan Pitsenbarger, who returned to anchor the offensive line, paved the way for an offense that averaged 310 yards rushing during the first three games.
“We’ve got some big, athletic boys up front and they blow people off the ball,” Grove said. “I think anybody could run through those holes.”
Said Taylor: “He’s also making a lot of people miss.”
Metaphorically, so are the Tigers.

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