Two of the top running backs in Class 2A will be on display at 7 p.m. today at Talon Field with a state semifinal appearance on the line.
Eagleville senior and Mr. Football finalist Chris Hale and Adamsville senior Zak Neary headline tonight’s Class 2A quarterfinal. Both have been instrumental in their respective team’s success.
Hale, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound multiple sport athlete, has rushed for a school-record 1,970 yards and has 30 total touchdowns. He has scored 24 TDs on the ground, four in the air and two in special teams.
Neary (6-2, 192) has 1,167 yards in 11 games. He has 18 total touchdowns.
“He’s probably one of the best backs we’ve seen all year,” Adamsville coach Brandon Gray said. “We’ve seen some really fast backs. We’ve played three or four 4A and 5A teams.
“I think Hale and Zak are two really good football players. Zak has been a good teammate. We could have given it to him 30 times a game if we needed to do it.”
But Neary has just 146 carries compared to Hale’s 214 touches.
The game marks the first meeting between fourth-ranked Eagleville (10-1) and fifth-ranked Adamsville (10-2). Adamsville is coming off a Class 2A state runner-up finish to Friendship Christian, which is now competing in Division II-A.
Eagleville coach Steve Carson said Adamsville has size up front with a pair of 300-pound linemen. And the Cardinals use numerous formations.
“They do a ton of stuff on offense,” Carson said. “I think (defensive coordinator Kent Pippenger) said he had them in 55 different formations. They do a lot of stuff, and do it well.
“They have the best back we’ve seen all year. And their quarterback (Seth Paul) throws a nice ball and can run the ball very well. They are as good of a football team as you’d expect to see in the quarterfinals.”