By GREG MENGELT
In most cases, Dalton Adkins’ 328 yards and four touchdowns would be quite impressive.
In most circumstances, Adkins would be a quarterback’s top target.
At most schools, the Jeffersonville junior would be the star of the team.
As it stands now, Adkins’ is quarterback Tyler Fridley’s fourth or fifth option in an offense with no shortage of weapons.
“He’s a huge part of our offense,” Fridley said. “He’s a huge target for us. He catches almost everything. He’s always open and he doesn’t drop the ball.”
With Ricky Embry (804 yards and 11 touchdowns), Jacquari Chandler (784 and 10), Dionte Allen (676, 9) and Austin Hines (1,443 combined yards and 21 scores) getting most of the headlines, Adkins is often ignored by the press, and more importantly, opposing defenses.
“That’s why he’s the forgotten guy,” Red Devils coach Lonnie Oldham said. “But he’s really not forgotten.”
Oldham hopes when Jeff takes on unbeaten and third-ranked Castle on Friday, the Knights’ defense forgets about his second tight end. If it does, Oldham said, he’ll make them pay like he has defenses throughout the season.
“We hope people forget about him and often they do and he winds up making big plays,” Oldham said. “He turns an average catch to a 50-, 60-yard run. He’s got deceptive speed. When he catches the ball, [defenses] have a hard time catching him. He fits our puzzle real nice.”
The truth is, Adkins doesn’t care about headlines and accolades.
“I’m happy with the way things are,” Adkins said. “I’m more of a team player than an individual-type player.”’
A lot of players say that. By all indications, Adkins means it — and it shows in his blocking. Oldham said Adkins is one of the teams best blockers, often springing Hines on the edge.
“He makes the extra blocks,” Oldham said. “He doesn’t mind if he’s catching or blocking. He’s happy to block if it means opening a hole.”
Despite splitting time between the offense and the defense, Adkins is seventh on the team with 25 solo tackles and 33 total. He also has three tackles for loss and a team-best 6.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries.
“He’s a really good high school football player,” Oldham said. “I’m glad he’s on our team.”
Adkins was hobbled in Friday’s 37-27 Sectional 8 semifinal win over Evansville North. He sat out of Monday’s practice with a sore ankle, but he’s confident he’ll play on Friday.
“I’ll definitely be out there Friday,” he said.
No doubt? “That’s a definite. No doubt about it.”
Fridley hopes so. If the Devils are going to beat Castle on Friday, a healthy Adkins is a must.
“He’ll be a huge part of our game plan, both offensively and defensively,” Fridley said.