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ADM football wins double overtime thriller against Norwalk

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News

It was a game that many fans could only dream of seeing at the high school level, and it happened Friday, Sept. 11 in Adel. The Norwalk Warriors came to town for a one-on-one battle with the high flying Tigers and fans of offense were not disappointed in a 50-49 shootout. 

"This was a win that was needed for us coaches but even more so for these players," said head coach Garrison Carter. "They've put in the work and they've fully bought in to everything we've asked." 

Offense reigned supreme in the contest and for the host Tigers, it meant combining for a season-high 493 yards of total offense. While the visiting Warriors excelled the most through the air, what helped propel the host to victory was the 325 yards on the ground. The contest had a feel that whoever suffered the last mistake would suffer the loss and that's exactly how it played out as a blocked extra point was the difference in the game. 

Justice Paulsen navigates through the Norwalk defense on Friday, Sept. 11 in Adel.

 It was a tale of two halves for the Tigers but as for the offense overall, fans were treated to action early and often. Norwalk fired the first shot as they found the endzone with just over two minutes off of the first quarter clock and with a missed extra-point, the Warriors led 6-0.The first quarter was dominated the Norwalk for the most part who added one more score to lead ADM 13-0 heading into the second quarter. 

The second quarter provided the most action for the fans and included 37 of the 99 total points scored on the night. The first of several second quarter scores belonged to ADM. Thanks to a 46 yard kick return by junior Lucas Ray, ADM had prime positioning to capture a score as the second quarter began. It was senior Justice Paulsen who punched in ADM's first touchdown from three yards out to cut into Norwalk's lead 13-7. Norwalk then proceeded to use efficient scoring and touched up 10 unanswered points and held their largest lead over ADM 23-7 heading into the final six minutes of the first half. 

As per usual, ADM quarterback Tate Stine-Smith was a huge weapon for the Tigers. He was ADM's biggest producer on the ground sporting 226 of ADM's 325 total rushing yards and four rushing scores. His first came with six minutes remaining in the first half on an 18-yard scamper to help cut into Norwalk's lead, now 23-15. 

In a contest where defensive stands came at a premium, the Tiger defense took advantage of several big time opportunities. That meant forcing three turnovers, including a pair of forced fumbles and one interception that meant a world of difference in an offensive showcase. 

ADM's Tate Stine-Smith passes the ball Friday, Sept. 11 in the 50-49 win over Norwalk.

"They were game changers," said Carter. "It was phenomenal to see so many players make so many plays. Tate will get a lot of credit, which he should, but this was a total team win here tonight." 

The first such turnover forced by ADM came with 5:07 left in the first half. Norwalk was driving and entered ADM territory before the Warriors put the ball on the ground and Gabe Heitz snatched up the ball for the Tigers. ADM took full advantage of the opportunity presented and drove over 30 yards and cut the lead down to two points following an eight yard score by Stine-Smith. The contest continued to have its fair share of intrigue as Norwalk had the last laugh in the first half, scoring with 17 seconds left to remain ahead at the half 29-21. A big thing that later came back to help the Tigers was the blocked extra point which would have made it 30-21.  

The Tigers hit the ground running in the second half and after just two elapsed minutes, Paulsen found pay-dirt for the second time on a 17-yard scamper. With a successful two-point conversion, the Tigers were well on their way to completing their comeback attempt, tying the game up at 29-29 with 10:11 left in the third quarter. 

Both teams traded one more touchdown each to round out the third quarter before entering the fourth quarter with a tie ball game 36-36. Once the fourth quarter did arrive, the defense was showcased the most as neither team could grab much footing offensively courtesy of four straight punts exchanged. 

The biggest highlight of taking advantage of opportunities for ADM came with under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Twice, Norwalk had momentum on big drives but twice, the Tigers forced turnovers with a fumble recovery and a Ty Hook interception. Unfortunately for the Tigers, offensively, they weren't able to capitalize and with the score still knotted up at 36-36, the game went into overtime. 

The ADM football sideline celebrates after a late-game turnover Friday, Sept. 11  against Norwalk.

Once in overtime, Stine-Smith seemed to take his play to another level. He scored the first points in the first overtime frame from 10 yards out and when Norwalk answered, he went back in double-overtime for the 50-43 lead. 

One thing coaches around the state, especially coach Carter preaches, is doing the little things right. Any time the Tigers asked senior Dylan Anderson to step up in the kicking game he did, and from that, the Tigers found the slight edge they needed to walk away with the narrow victory. 

"We've talked with this group that tough teams win and that's been our mantra ever since I've been here," said coach Carter. "That's not the most physically tough kid but the most mentally tough kid. The kid that can respond best to adversity. No one had to deal with more adversity than Dylan Anderson. Missed the kick last week that could have won it, would have been really easy to feel pressure this week and he didn't. Drove every kick straight through."

After Norwalk's answer, ADM came through with special teams magic as they blocked the extra point, opening the door for an ADM win. Stine-Smith and the Tiger offense did their job and pushed through for another score which then led to the do or die moment. All that was left was the extra point and with the game on the line, Anderson connected for the win.

"There was a lot of energy there, doing it for the boys," said Stine-Smith after the game. "We were in this situation last week and we knew how to handle that. It feels amazing to get that win under our belts." 

Overall, Stine-Smith had a night worthy of being praised with 168 yards passing and one touchdown on 17 completions through the air. On the ground, he produced 226 yards and four scores. Facing off against a tough Norwalk defense, Stine-Smith performed superhuman tasks but there was quite a lot of help along the way as well. 

"Our offensive line is playing as good or better than any I've ever coached," said coach Carter. "They are talented and more importantly believe in each other as a unit and when that happens, you know you're going to be good." 

From a season-high in forced turnovers to a season-high in points, it was as exciting of a game as possible with the best outcome possible. The Tigers now improve to 1-2 on the season and will look to even that up when they welcome in Winterset on Friday, Sept. 18 beginning at 7:15 p.m.